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Wellington restaurants snap up gongs and hats at Cuisine Good Food Awards

Logan Brown won the Long-Term Player award and Monique Fiso was singled out as Future Food Legend during last night’s 2018 Cuisine Good Food Awards at Auckland’s Civic Theatre.

Logan Brown co-owner-head chef Shaun Clouston (right) with chef Alex France.

Fourteen Wellington restaurants were awarded either one or two of the coveted Cuisine Good Food Awards hats, alongside other awards.

The list of contenders for the very best dining experiences in New Zealand for 2018 were nominated by the food magazine’s team of assessors who visit restaurants across the country, unannounced, and pay for every meal.

Lead assessor Kerry Tyack said at the awards that, “Transcending trends while remaining the hallmark of success are the twin features of quality and consistency. Our hat and category winners this year deliver both.

“They have shown a sure-footedness, a confidence that survives and grows without need of gimmicks or extreme positioning.”

A mainstay of Wellington’s fine-dining scene for over 20 years at its Cuba/Vivian corner site, Logan Brown was honoured as Pead PR New Zealand Long-Term Player.

The judges noted that its longevity is “clearly pleasing the punters” and admired its clever juggling act to accommodate all kinds of customers.

“On the one hand Logan Brown proudly bears the hallmarks of a fine dining restaurant; the white tablecloths, the well-dressed staff, and thoughtfully plated food. But on the other hand there isn’t an air of stuffiness or over-formality. They stock a huge array of New Zealand’s best beers, they champion local spirits and their wine list allows you to try some of the world’s best wine without forking out for a $500 bottle. Truly a restaurant that stands the test of time.”

Monique Fiso, who featured prominently in the recent Visa Wellington on a Plate after the success of her series of pop-up tent restaurants was dubbed Cuisine New Zealand Future Food Legend for her mission to elevate Māori cuisine. Her first permanent restaurant, Hiakai, will open soon in Wallace Street, Mt Cook.

While the two top awards – Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year and Santa Vittoria Chef of the Year – went to Cocoro in Auckland and to Giulio Sturla at Roots in Canterbury, Wellington was well represented when it came to beverage awards.

Noble Rot (above) in Swan Lane won Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience, and Charley Noble on Post Office Square won Best Drinks List.

Four Wellington restaurants won two hats at the Awards: Logan Brown, Noble Rot, Ortega Fish Shack, and Whitebait.

Ten Wellington restaurants were awarded one hat: Capitol, Chameleon, Charley Noble, Field & Green, Loretta, Monte Cervino, Rita, Salty Pidgin, Shepherd, and WBC.

The Cuisine Good Food Guide will accompany the November issue of Cuisine Magazine.