Pasture goes vegetarian
Parnell fine diner Pasture’s set menus are notoriously inflexible when it comes to vegetarian requirements – but plant-based eaters now have the chance to enjoy the full experience, as the team has announced a series of special vegetable-focused menus. Taking place over three dates (September 14, 21 and October 5), the offering will include a typically inventive array of dishes that treat vegetables as the star – and will no doubt feature some methods of preparation that’ll be entirely new to diners. Book here.

Duo does dinner
Until recently, Auckland chef Jordan Macdonald was one half of acclaimed CBD restaurant Culprit. Now, he and his wife Sarah Macdonald head up a relaxed neighbourhood bistro in Birkenhead on Auckland’s North Shore. Duo opened in March, and while the 30-seat restaurant has been doing a roaring trade in daytime dining, locals will be pleased to know the Macdonalds have now added dinners to the schedule. On the seasonal menu, find smaller plates that could include pāua doughnuts with preserved lemon mayo; bone marrow with sourdough; and handpicked rump tartare with capers, walnut mustard and crisps. Among larger plates, there’s currently oyster mushrooms with crispy polenta and celeriac; and a four-person lamb shoulder. Book for dinner here.

Whisky up top
Rooftop bar season is looming (now with more choice than ever in Auckland on that front), and Rooftop at QT is kicking it off early with an event series that’s running every Thursday in September. It’ll help if you’re a whisky fan, as the events are centred around single malt Scotch Bruichladdich. The bar staff will be mixing up special cocktails while resident DJs provide the soundtrack – you might try Charlotte’s Fix, with Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 single malt whisky, geranium-infused white cacao liqueur, amaro Montenegro and citrus.

Best of both worlds
Kōkako Organic Coffee Roasters and craft chocolatier Shirl & Moss are two local companies that prioritise transparent supply chains and sustainable practices. They’ve teamed up to create a limited edition, 67 per cent dark chocolate and espresso bar. With their powers combined, it’s a just-sweet-enough treat with notes of caramel and spice from the Mahana coffee blend and red stone from the Kilombero Valley cacao (ethically sourced from Kokoa Kamili in Tanzania). Plus, it’s vegan. The weighty, blue paper packaging, gold foil inner wrapping and rippled bar within make it a tasty gift for yourself or another.

Southern charm
One to mark in your calendar, the annual Eat.Taste.Central is taking place in the South Island’s Central Otago region between September 23 and October 24 – and the menu is online from September 1. The idea is that several of the area’s chefs and venues use locally sourced ingredients to create a special dish that showcases the famously diverse and high-quality flavours of the region. Dishes fit into one of three categories – burgers and sandwiches, a pie, or a main meal – each matched with a local drink or wine. For example, Bannockburn’s Carrick Winery & Restaurant is serving a Central Otago rabbit pithivier with locally grown micro-herbs and wild thyme jus, paired with the Carrick Bannockburn pinot noir. There are also book-ahead wine events to check out, and more.