166 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay. Ph 376-5597, vinnies.co.nz.
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. $$$
You have to work hard to make a fine-dining restaurant in this location work, and no one works harder than Geoff Scott, who spends a lot of time and energy finding the best meat and seafood to give his already incredible dishes a competitive edge. Staff are expertly informed about the menu, and seem devoted to giving you a great night out. And while the somewhat dark and dated room may not feel like it matches up to the food, what’s happening on the plate will soon take your mind off the décor. Wednesday is a good night to visit — $77 for seven experimental courses and the chance to preview new dishes before they’re added to the menu. They also offer BYO throughout the week, so take a rare old bottle of wine along with you — on Fridays, there’s no charge for corkage if you’re willing to give the sommelier a taste. We told you they were working hard.
A favourite dish: Central Otago boneless wild hare, white onion soubise, prunes, black rice and liquorice jus.
Degustation / Good for vegetarians / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection