Restaurant review: Elephant Hill, Hawke's Bay
Runner-up: Best Winery Restaurant
Cuisine rating: 15.5/20
Many winery restaurants go the rustic route. And while that's very appealing, it's also nice to find a modern, white-furnished restaurant at a winery, connected with its landscape by way of splashes of teal blue that evoke the seaside location. This is Elephant Hill's Te Awanga home, with a vista of vines leading onto a ribbon of ocean. Chef Ashley Jones's menu of contemporary dishes expertly complements the decor. Perfectly cooked bluenose is served with a prawn-mousse-stuffed tempura zucchini flower, with cucumber and pickled shallot adding sweetness and texture. And a dessert of coconut sago "arancini", accompanied by lime curd, lemongrass foam and lychee-infused spun sugar, is technically expert and delicious. The excellent Elephant Hill wine portfolio backs it all up.