Little Aosta Is Arrowtown's New Rustic Italian Eatery From Celeb Chef Ben Bayly
The southern township's cozy new spot is the "zero faff", family-friendly younger sibling of fine-dining fave Aosta.
February 18, 2022
Arrowtown's thriving dining scene is welcoming a new member to the family, in this case a younger sibling for fine-dining favourite Aosta.
Opening later this month next to the small village's famous Blue Door Bar, Little Aosta will offer delicious, home-style cuisine inspired by the cooking of Northern Italy, using local ingredients from southern Aotearoa.
If you're looking for a cozy spot to warm up after a big day of adventuring — either on the slopes or at the wineries — this may just be your new go-to. Bayly says he's curated the menu to capture the "magic of an authentic multi-generation Italian home".
"I wanted a casual, fun and chaotic little Italian place that complemented Aosta well — a place that was focused on simple, delish Italian food with zero faff," he said.
"Arrowtown is all about family and lots of families visit too, so we wanted to appeal to them."
The original Aosta has garnered a glowing rep for its elegant, finer dining take on Italian fare, inspired by Bayly's time spent in an alpine valley of northern Italy that became its namesake. Little Aosta is its slightly more rustic sibling: the menu is divided into antipasti, sourdough wood fired pizzas, woodfired meatballs and salsicce (sausage), hand-crafted family sizes pastas and delicious dolci (dessert).
"Look for great cuts seared over the wood fired grill and sourdough pizzettas out of the wood fired pizza oven – paired with interesting, entertaining, and affordable wines by the carafe," says Bayly.
On the drinks menu you'll find Italian-inspired spritzes, including the Americano, Negroni Sbagliato ("Negroni by mistake") and a Sgroppino spritz made with vodka, prosecco, and lemon sorbet. The wine list will house both local drops from around Central Otago as well as Italian wines served by the tumbler, carafe, and bottle.
While Bayly says he'll be travelling down regularly to check on things, day-to-day the eatery will be helmed by executive chef Steven Sepsy and head chef Darren Lynch, with the pasta and drinks list curated by Giulio Barducci, and the front of house led by Vanessa Cagnola.
Casual comfort is the name of the game: overflow and walk-ins will be encouraged to enjoy a pre-dinner drink or wait for their table at Blue Door. In winter the restaurant will be open from 3pm for après ski outside by the open fire — no actual skiing experience required.
Little Aosta opens its doors on Saturday 26 February and will be open from 5pm Wednesday to Sunday for walk-ins, with bookings required for six or more guests. For more information and the full menu, see littleaosta.co.nz.
Top images: Sam Stewart
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