CBD workers and locals have no doubt visited Amano’s Bakery—they’ve been dishing up artisan pastries and breakfast goodies for a few months now. But..little did anyone know that magic was brewing behind those bakeries back walls!
Just when you thought Hip Group couldn’t become anymore ingenious, they open the doors to the second part of Amano—a beautiful eatery in the heart of Britomart. We just love their other venues and this little beauty could arguably trump all of them.
This sprawling restaurant is situated on Tyler Street, and once inside you’ll find the busy kitchen staff led by Executive Chef, Jo Pearson, hand-rolling pasta (made from flour in their very own wheat mill adjoining both the bakery and restaurant), prepping the daily catch and plating an assortment of gorgeous Italian-influenced dishes.
There’s also a grand bar that’s dressed bench-to-ceiling in mother of pearl. And, breaking up the centre-pass, two glorious travertine benches sit pretty—complete with dark wooden stools. Look up and you’ll quickly notice the breathtaking dried flowers and rustic wooden beams that complete Amano’s effortless charm. The floor is made of random off-cuts of marble which are cemented into the polished floor. It’s their nose-to-tail food philosophy that extends beyond the kitchen and into the architecture, never wasting anything—even if it is a cracked piece of stone.
The menu changes daily. We know! Who has time for that? Well, Amano may not have time, but they do it despite the ticking clock. And all for very simple reasons—when you hear a chef talk about seasonal produce they literally mean seasons. Ie, Summer, Autumn and so on. But at Amano, Jo is on the phone to her local fish/seafood supplier to discuss what was caught each morning. This dictates what’s on offer—a clever way to ensure heavily-fished species are avoided, but also a clever way to introduce lesser-known breeds to the masses. Long line caught King Fish is served crudo (raw) with delicate green chillies, avocado and herbs. Charred octopus comes from the Wairarapa Valley, the soft flesh contrasting with texture and vibrancy thanks to the crisp cucumber and salsa verde. While the fresh Bream Bay sardines are simply dressed with tarragon and sourdough crumb.
The pasta menu highlights Amano’s daily catches, too. Auckland Island scampi is enclosed in egg dough pasta parcels and flavoured with fermented chili and chervil. While Wairarapa Coast crayfish is served the same but with chives and pangritata.
But let’s rewind a little! There’s also a whole section of the menu dedicated to dairy...Burata, Faffotini, Provolone, Ricotta and Fior di latte which are all delicious Italian cheeses. These are paired with simple accompaniments—the ultimate beginning to any meal. We’re in!
Carnivores, don’t fret because you’ll be well looked after at Amano with a whole section of the menu curated especially for you. Coppa (dry cured free-range pork collar) is served alongside ash-cooked vinegar onions, pickled greens and strawberries. Wagu rump steak is cooked to your liking and paired with tarragon sauce and crisp chicory. Or, if you’re really wanting to up the steak ante, either the 60-day dry-aged Shorthorn beef bone on rib eye or the 60 day dry-aged wagyu beef T-bone should be your choice. Served with horseradish cream and a simple rocket salad, share with the person opposite you or fast throughout the day and enjoy on your own.
And, if that isn’t enough, they’re open for the all-important meal of the day—breakfast. Of course, it’s done in style with an Italian-inspired take on the classics. AND they’re opening a small gelato bar on the Quay Street side of the building making it accessible to grab a house-churned sweet treat and wander the water’s edge.
Amano certainly fits the bill no matter what you need to satisfy. A hearty brunch, a seaside pick-me-up of good brew and pastries, a boozy long lunch, an epic evening meal or a dessert with sweet wine to end the night. We’re already thinking of new excuses to visit. Or. perhaps we’ll just succumb to the lure of the all-day eatery, all day, every day...
For more details on Amano, including opening hours, click here.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews