Innovative Auckland restaurant Pasture has now been delivering its extraordinary dining experience for a year, having reached its milestone first birthday over the weekend. And, what better way to celebrate than with not one, but two wins at the Cuisine Good Food Awards.
Pasture’s head chef and co-owner Ed Verner was named Chef of the Year while the restaurant also took away the Best Drinks List prize with a two hat rating at the prestigious event, held in Auckland this week (Monday 7 August).
It’s been a whirlwind first year for owners Ed and Laura Verner, who were also awarded Best New Restaurant and runner up in the Best Fit Out category at the Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards in May.
Since opening the thoughtfully crafted Parnell restaurant in August 2016, the couple has worked tirelessly to deliver a confident, painstaking and innovative dining experience – something that has become synonymous with Pasture.
Ed Verner comments, “The past year has been an incredible journey for both Laura and myself, one that has both tested and taught us so much.
“At Pasture, we strive to deliver an authentic and original experience that is a little bit of us on a plate. This award gives us the courage to carry on in the direction we’re most passionate about and we’re excited to see what the next year brings.”
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Ed and Laura say they will be pushing even harder to remain ahead of the curve and deliver the unique flavours Pasture is known for.
Cocktails and handmade drinks will continue to be a particular area of focus for the couple, who dedicate an inordinate amount of time to the curation of the drinks list – their pride and joy.
Champions of local suppliers, Ed and Laura serve only New Zealand distilled spirits at Pasture and have been working on preservation specifically for cocktails since spring last year.
They are set to release their first cocktail menu this week, which will showcase Pasture’s passion for seasonal, handmade and local produce.
Laura, with her background in horticulture and knowledge of botanicals along with Ed’s unique skills and command of flavour has been instrumental to the curation of the standout cocktail menu. She and Ed have been developing some of the ingredients for more than a year – many are in such limited quantities that they’re truly invaluable.
Laura notes, “Ed has led the creative development of our cocktails, which are so linked to his dishes.
“The unusual flavours and techniques involved as well as the time and thought that has gone into crafting the small-batch ingredients is what really makes our cocktail menu so unique.”
The menu includes their own Native Bitters and a Campari, which the couple made using indigenous botanicals and wildflowers. Diners will also be able to enjoy a range of succulent vermouths, vinegars, liqueurs, botanical syrups, infusions, tinctures and bottle-fermented preserves.
Each cocktail is named after a musician or band from decades past, such as the ‘Patti Labelle’ – a striking mixture of campari and distilled Reid & Reid gin blended with kumquats and marmalade that featured on the restaurant’s first menu.
The new cocktail menu joins the thoughtfully curated natural, organic and biodynamic wine list, Drinks Match and the non-alcoholic Pasture Match. An alternative to matching wines, Pasture Match is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
The intimate restaurant seats just 20 diners, and offers a set menu served with bread and snacks for $140. The drinks match is an additional $70 and can include beer/cider, wines and spirits. The Pasture match is $65 and includes handmade juices, infusions, natural ferments and extractions.
Pasture is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm and reservations are essential. A limited run of sourdough is sold from the bakery door from Thursday – Sunday from 2pm.
Cuisine Good Food Awards – Two Hats
Winner – Cuisine Good Food Awards – Chef of the Year
Winner – Cuisine Good Food Awards – Best Drinks List
Winner – Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards – Best New Restaurant