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Dinner at Amisfield


Amisfield Restaurant

An exceptional meal, over 5 hours with 20 gastronomic concepts, is a spectacle.  

Add to this the polished performance and theatre of both wait staff and chefs who entertained with stories of each dish; the provence of the ingredients while executing final tasks at the table side.

All credit goes to Chef Vaughan Mabee with his unique interpretation of New Zealand ingredients intertwined with culture. The legendary Amisfield Golden Triangle of butter, lemon, salt wins over many dishes with elegant sauces and emulsions.

Amisfield Restaurant was awarded Restaurant of the Year at Cuisine Good Food Awards 2023 and Chef Vaughan was placed 44th in the international rating Best Chef Award 2023.

I am pleased to add that NZSFW has had two graduates work at Amisfield for Chef Vaughan. Sam Phipps who is now based in Switzerland at L'Auberge de Montmin and Jade Ward who is working at noma in Denmark until in 2024.

See below my record of an outstanding evening.


Amuse bouche: cones in the mouth of butterfish

Baby paua (18 months) in a delicate broth

Smoking the eel at the table.

Manuka smoked eel on Vogel’s toast with Pinot Noir reduction

Chef presents the flowering Harakeke (flax).

The Otago Flower: Harakeke 

A taco filled with harakeke (flax) seeds in sour cream, spears of asparagus, garnished with edible flowers and paired with a chlorophyl tonic of asparagus and extra virgin olive oil.

Learn more about Harakeke, New Zealand flax.

River stones mask the 'stones' of truffle mousse and butter. Slices of paua saucisson.

Truffle milk brioche

Perfectly prepared brioche, soft, delicate and flavoursome was served with river stones of grey truffle butter presented along with a selection of real stones. The paua and pork saucisson was exceptional.

Chef explains the provenance of New Zealand king crab.

New Zealand king crab

There is a certain excitement when watching a platter of king crab, with a hearty dose of liquid nitrogen, being transported across the restaurant to your table.

The chef then explained the story of the dish.

King crabs are found a depth of 500 metres in Foveaux Strait, the rough channel that separates the South Island from Stewart Island and home to the legendary bluff oyster.  Ferrari red in colour, the crab was lightly poached and served with a consommé.

Wild Paua liver

Local Celeriac over charcoal fire with black garlic molasses, Parsley oil

Poached butterfish with whitebait, butter mousseline

Monkfish fermented chilli crayfish bisque, Agri potato chips

Fiordland Tartare of wapiti, confit of hare, Mallard duck's foot

The Confit of hare was inside a Pinot Noir jelly leaf. The Canter Valley mallard duck's foot (on the stand), had the bone skillfully removed, dehydrated and served with a duck liver parfait

Chef prepares Bluff Octopus on open fire

The whole beast: Bluff Octopus 

The Bluff Octopus was prepared outside on the open fire and served on a taco with a sweet mayonnaise.

Chef prepares lamb's tail of Royalburn Merino sheep.

A lamb's tale

Blow torch Lambs tail of Royalburn merino with onga onga (nettle) sauce.

Wild putangitangi Paradise duck liver ice cream

The Far North: Kawakawa snail sorbet

Chef Vaughan presents the Spiker antler blood caramel.

Spiker Antler, Blood (Beetroot) caramel

Click here to find out more about Amisfield Restaurant and Winery.

Celia Hay

22 December 2023

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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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The School

Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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