Four Rotorua restaurants win national culinary awards

Four Rotorua restaurants win national culinary awards

Rotorua diners are being served up award winning dishes, celebrating New Zealand’s top quality beef and lamb.

Four Rotorua restaurants have been featured in the list of winners of the annual Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards. Dukes Restaurant at the Prince’s Gate Hotel, Stolen Bike Cafe, Regent of Rotorua Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Mokoia Restaurant at the Waiora Lakeside Spa and Resort all picked up accolades.

The Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards are New Zealand’s longest running culinary awards established back in 1997 to acknowledge the skills, expertise and talent of the country’s greatest chefs, of which Rotorua is home to several.

What the assessors said:
Mokoia Restaurant at Waiora Lakeside Spa:
“Both beef and lamb dishes showed flair and creativity. Consideration was given to colour and texture on the plate ensuring eye appealing and well-balanced dishes. Creativity was shown with the beef dish by using roasted bone marrow and piko piko to support the eye fillet steak. The lamb dish included two cuts of lamb; backstrap and rump which were both executed to a high standard to allow their natural flavours to shine through.”

Regent of Rotorua:
“Creativity and thought went into the different components of both the beef and lamb dishes. Prime and secondary cuts were used to showcase beef and lamb highlighting different cooking methods which created interest and added different tastes and textures to the palate. Of particular note was the delicious sweetbread croquette accompanying the lamb rack and pressed braised lamb shank.”

Stolen Bike Café:
“The beef and lamb dishes offered here were simple and executed to a high standard. The lamb dish featured a dukkah crusted lamb loin with pumpkin and maple puree. The combination of flavours worked to support the natural flavour of the lamb and created a well-considered dish. The beef featured a pan seared scotch fillet which was perfectly cooked and meltingly tender and made for an excellent lunch time dish.”

Dukes Restaurant at Prince’s Gate Hotel:
“The beef and lamb served here are classic dishes using traditional cuts and ingredients which were executed to a high standard. The beef dish featured a succulent eye fillet which had been seared and seasoned correctly allowing for extra flavour and texture. It was accompanied by a delicious Mills Reef Shiraz jus which had a great depth of flavour nicely balanced by sweet and earthy flavours. The lamb shank had been beautifully braised in a rich combination of Te Mata Estate Merlot, prunes and aged balsamic. This created a deep rich flavour harmony with a hint of mint to cut through the richness.”

About the Awards
New Zealand is renowned for its world-class beef and lamb by locals and visitors alike. The intention of the Excellence Awards is to extend the remarkable New Zealand food story further by seeking out and acknowledging the great work the chefs do to contribute to this.

The Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards are open to any restaurant serving beef and lamb on their menus and are presented after a tough assessment process. More than 230 restaurants applied and an army of more than 100 independent, culinary-trained assessors were sent out to "mystery shop" the restaurants and return their verdicts on whether the dishes had met the standard to be labelled as a leader of beef and lamb cuisine.

The assessors are culinary trained and after they have visited each restaurant, they write up a report. The restaurants who achieve the standard are awarded the iconic gold plate.

The judging criteria is based on presentation, composition, taste, preparation and cooking, the overall appeal of the dish and if it is suited to the dining establishment. All restaurants are judged on their own merits and not compared with each other.

Photo shows award winning food at Prince’s Gate.