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Eateries among NZ’s best

Union Square owner and head chef Adam Newell. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

HAYLEY GASTMEIER

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Two Martinborough restaurants have been named in Cuisine magazine’s top 100 New Zealand eateries for 2018 – the only Wairarapa inclusions.

Pinocchio and Union Square are just metres away from each other, and the chefs behind them agree the keys to success in the restaurant industry are a passion for great food and wine, and having quality staff.

This is the second consecutive year that Pinocchio has been recognised, with owner and head chef Paul Ansell saying the staff had everything to do with it.

Paul and Elly Ansell of Pinocchio in Martinborough. PHOTO/SUPPLIED.

“Everyone is striving all the time to get better,” he said.

“We look after our staff, and haven’t had to hire any new staff for three years – we’ve got a solid crew.”

Ansell and wife, Elly, who manages the front of house, bought the restaurant four years ago.

The couple met while working at Wellington’s iconic Logan Brown restaurant. They spent a decade at other high-profile eateries in the capital and had a stint in London.

Ansell said the trends were moving all the time so he, Elly, and their crew often frequented other eateries to keep ideas fresh.

Next door, Union Square Bistro & Bar head chef Adam Newell said making it into the top 100 was a surprise, as he and his wife, Nicola, opened the restaurant only a matter of months ago.

“It’s been a mammoth amount of work, you know, especially by everybody in the team, and it was really nice to get some recognition — it’s awesome.”

Newall said striving daily for “spot on” food, wine, and service played a part, along with having a “clear direction and dream”.

The couple owned Zibibbo in Wellington for 18 years prior to opening Union Square, which is at Martinborough Hotel.

 

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