Hats off to Riverstone
Chef Bevan Smith believes fine produce and plenty of hard work are behind Riverstone Kitchen's latest accolade.
The restaurant was recently named runner-up in the best regional restaurant category at the 2014 Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards.
Hamilton's Chim Choo Ree won the top regional restaurant prize, while the supreme award went to Sidart in Auckland.
Riverstone, north of Oamaru, is no stranger to success at the awards, having been named New Zealand Restaurant of the Year in 2010.
Smith, who opened Riverstone with wife Monique in 2006, says the accolade has come as a result of plenty of hard graft and a positive attitude.
"It's always good to be recognised. It's a reflection of the hard work of the staff and the standards we maintain ... you're only as good as your last dish.
"For a restaurant that's as busy as we are, it's a great standard to continue to achieve."
Access to "fantastic" produce is also a factor in Riverstone's continued success, according to Smith.
Judges described Riverstone as "fresh, local and brilliant".
"Bevan Smith's food is exemplary, much of it sourced from the restaurant's extensive vegetable gardens and orchards. The lamb is from down the road, the salmon from up the river and the venison from nearby.
"Waitaki wines feature in the carefully selected list and the extensive craft-beer offering is impressive. Seasonal salads are a delight, crispy-skinned salmon with champ and olive tapenade and bitter greens a revelation and the blackcurrant souffle with lemon ice-cream sublime."
Riverstone has also achieved a "one hat" rating, based on a recently introduced ratings system, with a score of 15.5 out of 20.
In 2013, the restaurant scored 15.
It's the highest scoring restaurant in the South Island, with only 20 restaurants nationwide with the rating.
The Timaru Herald