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FOOD & DRINK

Hiakai

This world-class restaurant is devoted to the exploration and development of Māori cooking techniques and ingredients.
By Rachel Stone
December 08, 2018
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Hiakai

This world-class restaurant is devoted to the exploration and development of Māori cooking techniques and ingredients.
By Rachel Stone
December 08, 2018
  shares

You may have seen Hiakai as a pop-up at this year's Wellington On a Plate. Or perhaps chef/owner Monique Fiso representing New Zealand on Netflix series Final Table. Either way, the bricks-and-mortar version of Hiakai has landed in Wellington.

Meaning 'hungry' or to 'have a craving for food' in te reo Māori, Hiakai is a world-class restaurant devoted to the exploration and development of Māori cooking techniques and ingredients. Fiso has taken the often referenced style of earth cooking (hāngi) and transformed it into a refined dining experience for the people of Aotearoa — to give you an idea, she's previously cooked everything from muttonbird to weka and kūmara gnocchi with huhu grubs.

The sophisticated menus created by Fiso set out to challenge the status quo of Māori food in New Zealand, while playing a leading role in keeping our indigenous food culture alive. The newly opening permanent restaurant in Mount Cook uses flavours foraged from the land and sea with a special focus on Māori and Polynesian ingredients.

That dedication to true Aotearoa ingredients has so far seen the kitchen whip up delights like pipis roasted under a bed of flaming pine needles, Kaipara oysters with horopito mignonette granita and koromiko flowers, and wood-fired kareao with asparagus, salted buffalo curd, pine dust and pine needle vinaigrette. For dessert, local flavours have lent themselves to kawakawa sorbet and a range of NZ-inspired petit fours, from a burnt plum 'Shrewsbury' to horopito chocolate.

Hiakai offers tasting menus including six, eight and ten courses from $95 to $155. Since opening, bookings have snapped up with spare seats as rare as hen's teeth — and for good reason.

Find Hiakai at 40 Wallace Street, Mount Cook, Wellington.

Published on December 08, 2018 by Rachel Stone

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