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By Stephen Heard
May 02, 2017
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By Stephen Heard
May 02, 2017
  shares

A modern Indian restaurant that occupies an underground bunker has been named Supreme Winner of the Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards for the second year running.

For fifteen years the awards have celebrated excellence in the Auckland dining scene through food, service, fit-out and ambience — as determined by a judging panel made up of restaurant critics, food writers and people from the hospitality business.

Cassia is the brainchild of Sid and Chand Sahrawat, the team also behind Ponsonby fine dining experience, SidArt (named Restaurant of the Year in 2014). Found down Fort Lane, Cassia utilises a combination of local ingredients with the flavours and cooking techniques of India to create refined dishes that challenge traditional notions of Indian cuisine. Instead of your commonplace curry, rice and naan, the restaurant offers mouthwatering delights like: soft shell crab with kasundi, radish and curry leaf; venison tartare with beetroot, cabbage and macadamia; and free range pork with vindaloo, apple and ginger.

As well as taking top honours, Cassia was also named Best Smart Dining Restaurant.

Auckland dining institution Cazador was runner up for the Supreme Award. The family-owned restaurant has been operating for 30 years with a menu led by wild and game meats. Cazador also won Best Neighbourhood Bistro and Dariush Lolaiy, son of founding owners and chefs Barbara and Tony Lolaiy, was named Best Chef.

Restaurateur of the Year was jointly awarded to Damaris and Renee Coulter from Coco's Cantina.

METRO RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR 2017 WINNERS

Supreme Award: Metro Restaurant of the Year 2017
Cassia

Runner up: Cazador

Best Fine-Dining Restaurant
The Grove

Best Smart-Dining Restaurant
Cassia

Best Inner-City Bistro
Depot

Best City-Fringe Bistro
Ponsonby Road Bistro

Best Neighbourhood Bistro
Cazador

Restaurateur of the Year
Damaris & Renee Coulter (Coco's Cantina)

Best Chef
Dariush Lolaiy (Cazador)

Restaurant Personality of the Year
Petaia Unoi (Coco's Cantina)

Food for Good
Orphans Kitchen

Best Service
The French Café

Best Wine List
Pasta & Cuore

Best overall drinks list
Cocoro

Best New Restaurant
Pasture

Best New Fit-out
Amano

People's Choice Award for Auckland's Favourite Dish
Fry-pan brownie, raspberries, raspberry marshmallows, butterscotch raspberry ripple ice cream (Cibo)

Photo: Simon Young

Published on May 02, 2017 by Stephen Heard

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