Relish no longer on dining-out menu

TOUGH DECISION: Relish has shut up shop.
TOUGH DECISION: Relish has shut up shop.

Nelson waterfront restaurant Relish has shut its doors. Owner and chef Stuart Cliffin said yesterday he had made a tough decision but felt he had no choice.

He said the business was not in receivership, but he had decided to close now while he still had the option of moving forward.

Cliffin, a widely experienced chef and his wife, Catriona, a retired British army major, opened Relish in premises above the Nelson Yacht Club in December 2009. The restaurant filled the gap left by Italian restaurant Venice Cove, which had closed several months earlier.

CLOSED: The sign on the door at Relish Waterfront Dining above the Nelson Yacht Club.
CLOSED: The sign on the door at Relish Waterfront Dining above the Nelson Yacht Club.

Cliffin has worked in restaurants around the country including the Pier Hotel in Kaikoura, the Store at Kekerengu, Brookfields Winery near Napier, and senior roles at several Auckland restaurants.

They said at the time their decision to come to Nelson was based on lifestyle rather than "chasing the big bucks" of bigger centres.

Cliffin said yesterday they had had a fantastic time at Relish, and were grateful for the huge support received over the years. The decision was also based on the timing of the lease renewal which was due. The restaurant operated from premises owned by the Nelson Yacht Club.

"We just have to make this decision but we want to thank everyone for their loyalty and support. We've met some fantastic people and it's been a hell of a ride but we've closed the business so we can regroup."

He said they had had a "fantastic summer", which made it harder to pinpoint the crux of the problem.

"Everyone in Nelson is chasing the same business but there's only so much out there.

"We've had lots of fantastic feedback, but if I could answer that question, everyone in town would be happy."

Cliffin believed the trade had suffered from the past few years of belt-tightening among consumers who had become more discerning on how they spent their incomes.

The family planned to stay in town, but were unsure of what was next.

"At this stage I've nothing set in stone. My first priority is to close down the business and once that's done I'll go back to work.

"It's onwards and upwards from here."