New Zealand is a different beast when it comes to fish. While most of its export market comprises of wild snapper and aquaculture including Mount Cook Salmon, there are species which never set fin beyond a plate in the land of the long white cloud such as terakihi.
Here are some chefs who are doing it well:
Auckland chef Peter Gordon, whose culinary style is best described as fusion cuisine, and Head Chef Neil Brazier combines the best seasonal produce with exotic global ingredients such as trevally and langoustine with smoked beetroot, miso egg yolk, apple, dill, deep-fried quail’s egg or fresh fish of the day such as sashimi with turmeric daikon, cultured cream, crispy wakame and wasabi. Or try Gordon’s more casual paella de marisco with monkfish, squid, prawns, clams and mussels at the more casual Bellota tapas bar. The Sugar Room, Auckland, Belotta, Auckland.
Pause to consider five lobster dishes including a whole Karitane crayfish with garlic and Pernod butter or poached Leigh snapper, crab bisque, scallops and Cloudy Bay clams, to Mount Cook salmon with oxtail sauce and smoked potato puree cooked up by Sydney-based chef Sewan Connolly, who is also behind the menus at venues in Dubai, Adelaide and Byron Bay in Australia. The Grill by Sean Connolly, Auckland.
While Masterchef judge Simon Gault is best known as executive chef at Euro – a US Condé Nast Traveler world’s top 50 listed on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, he also has Bistro Lago in Taupo where line-caught market fish meets coconut broth, lentil dhal and curry leaf. Euro, Auckland.
After the success of Rātā, in Queenstown, chef Josh Emett headed to the North Island and opened Ostro in Auckland's popular Britomart precinct. With sweeping views of the Waitemata Harbour, Ostro offers pan-roasted market fish with basil emulsion, cavolo nero, kale and ginger dressing or snapper, prawn and lobster pie topped with picada and crispy fried purple potato. Rātā, Queenstown, Ostro, Auckland.
At Sails Restaurant, with its views of Westhaven Marina, diners can go for trusty John Dory, with green risotto, spanner crab or opt for long-line caught beer battered terakihi, which rivals blue cod and snapper as the most sought after for Kiwi sea-fishers. Served with fries of course. Sails Restaurant, Westhaven Marina, Auckland.