As Urban Listers, we know you'll be familiar with the name Peter Gordon. You'll also be familiar with the fact that the Whanganui-born chef has spent the last 30+ years carving out a very successful career in London, whilst juggling a handful of restaurants here (The Sugar Club amongst them).
However thanks to COVID, the country's most famous chef has returned permanently to our shores alongside his partner Alastair (not the worst piece of news for dedicated foodies such as ourselves, we have to say) and together, they have something pretty special up their respective sleeves.
We're talking about Homeland, the epic new project the pair have been working on since relocating to New Zealand earlier this year, and which officially opens today (Thursday November 19).
Now let's be clear—this isn't just a restaurant, oh no. It's also a cooking school, an innovation hub, a connector of communities... a 'food embassy', if you will. No matter where his career has taken him, Peter has always championed Kiwi and Pacifica cuisine and Homeland is no exception, providing the penultimate space to promote local, sustainable kai (something we're sure you'll agree is now more important than ever).
Taking up residence on Auckland's waterfront on the site formerly occupied by Mantells, this is certainly an impressive spot. There's a state-of-the-art cooking school at one end, which includes height-adjustable benchtops (so people of all ages and abilities can join in the cooking fun)—almost an entire wall of well-thumbed cookbooks (Peter and Alastair's personal collection)—and huge TV screens and a recording room to capture all the action as Peter and other chefs share recipes from their respective homelands. There'll be classes for baking, classes for roasting... even the chance to bring your fish straight off the boat and cook it up on Sundays.
There's also a retail space showcasing some delicious local goodies and of course, the dining room. Take a tour of the rare artworks at the rear of the space then settle in amongst the elegant, seaward-facing space for a modern yet approachable menu featuring many of Peter's most famous dishes (Turkish eggs and cheese scones included), made exclusively from Kiwi ingredients.
In true sustainable fashion, the menu will change according to what's available on the day. We were treated to Moodew paneer, pan-fried to perfection and served with a punchy minted pea salsa, mixed tomatoes and pistachio dukkah—a delicate smoked eel and fish roe dish with chilli lime ginger and toast—and our favourite, soft-boiled eggs paired with hummus and crunchy grilled green and white asparagus, all washed down with a glass of lovely crisp sav.
There really is so much more we could say about this amazing new venture, but honestly—why not just check it out for yourself. You're welcome!
Image credit: Homeland, Armelle Frimpong