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Hippopotamus Restaurant has just been awarded one hat from New Zealand’s premier food mag and we’re pretty chuffed about it.
The “Hatting”, which I imagine involves something similar to the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter, is awarded at Cuisine Magazine’s annual New Zealand Cuisine Good Food Awards. The night of eatery excellence, held at the Auckland Memorial Centre, gives awards across 14 categories like, Food Legend and Restaurant of the Year, as well as giving out “Hats” to the best restaurants in NZ.
QT Museum Wellington’s signature restaurant, Hippopotamus Restaurant received One Hat, placing it in the upper echelon of not only Wellington, but New Zealand eateries.
How the Hat system works
The hat system is Cuisine Magazine’s criteria for evaluating restaurants. Each eatery is given a score out of 20 based on the total experience from start to finish. Here’s the breakdown:
- Up to nine points are given for food (flavour, technique, produce, balance)
- Up to four points for service (knowledge, care, professionalism)
- Four to wine and wine service (wine menu, staff knowledge, pricing)
- Up to three points for ambience (decor, lighting, buzz)
- Scores of 15 or more receive a hat – the more hats, the higher the score
The Welly fine-dining institution has been under the courageous direction of Executive Chef, Laurent Loudeac, for the best part of a decade.
“I’m lucky to have a dedicated and passionate team working with me,” he said. “Many of us have been working with me long enough to know my expectations and the level of quality that is expected before a dish leaves my kitchen” – Executive Chef, Laurent Loudeac
The Hippopotamus menu, as foodies say, “reads well”. A broad mix of French classics stabbed with a contemporary knife and drizzled with essence of Wellington. What does that mean? Well, for example – the reinvention of dishes like La Soupe À L’oignon Néo-Zélandaise – French Onion Soup with Marmite.
There’s also five, six or eight course degustation dining options with wine to match and award-winning High Teas.
It appears the hat fits.
words by niall roeder
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