one great meal

Matt Lambert, the self-proclaimed Westie who caught eels in Henderson Creek, is based these days in New York. His restaurant The Musket Room showcases the best of New Zealand produce with modern flair. Four months after opening in 2013, the restaurant gained a Michelin star.

Matt was back in New Zealand in early May and put on a collaborative dinner with Giulio Sturla, the chef and co-owner of Roots Restaurant in Lyttelton, as part of ConversatioNZ (and in part to help pay for the costs of organising the event).

And what a meal! Cheaper than a trip to New York, it was an impeccable eight-course degustation matched with some outstanding wines sourced for the most part from Waipara, which has be one of the most exciting wine regions in the country.

Starting with a nod to Giulio’s Chilean heritage with cheese bread balls and his sensational blackfoot paua with cauliflower, pork, garlic and kale, it was a truly locally inspired menu. Everything was made on the day, with many of the herbs and vegetables coming from the Roots garden. A number of Matt’s signature dishes featured, including Ora King salmon with quinoa and pear, and venison, pickles, smoked eel and truffle.

It was a truly special night for all the diners lucky enough to be eating in this tiny 25-seater overlooking the port and harbour. Ginny Grant