Restaurant review: Whitebait, Wellington
Winner: Electrolux Best New Restaurant
Cuisine rating: 15.5/20 (one chef's hat)
Wellington's newest fine-diner is proving a hit, with the combination of waterfront dining room, polished service and intelligent, skilful dishes an irresistible one. Owner Paul Hoather also runs the fun, at times frenetic, Charley Noble; Whitebait offers a calmer, more salubrious experience. That's not to say it isn't fun though – oceanic touches including paua shell-like pendant lamps and a carpet crowded with wriggling flounder and eel motifs are bound to generate a smile. And the food from head chef Khan Danis will also make you smile, rather a lot. Dishes such as spotted gurnard with prawn toast crust on a bed of roasted, smoked tomato and olive sauce are clever, perfectly cooked and delicious. Thanks to pastry chef Catherine Adams, desserts are also a highlight, as in a beautifully executed raspberry mille feuille with raspberry sorbet and gold leaf. Add in a high-quality wine list, and you can see why Wellingtonians are so happy.