Auckland’s hospitality scene is set to welcome two brand new major players near the end of the year, with two of the country’s best-known chefs and restaurateurs opening separate sites in October.
Michael Meredith (Mr Morris) will be opening his new restaurant, Metita, in The Grand by Skycity, in the space formerly occupied by Italian restaurant Gusto at The Grand. Inspired by his upbringing in Samoa and named after his late mother, Metita will aim to change local diners’ perceptions about Pacific food and showcase sustainably caught seafood.
It's always been a goal of his to open a restaurant that honoured his heritage so directly, Meredith told Broadsheet. His earliest food memories stem from Apia, where his mother had a pancake stall and he grew up cooking from a young age. "It's not the first time Polynesian food has been brought to the mainstream, but I know from growing up there that there are layers to it – and so many cultures that form the melting pot of the Pacific," he says. "It’ll be my version of how pacific cuisine should be and how it should be celebrated."
The fit-out is currently underway, with an interior design by Auckland and Brisbane-based firm Ctrl Space that’s also inspired by the culture, cuisine and art of the Pacific. Traditional woven fishing baskets will be a central feature, hanging from the ceiling like chandeliers.
Skycity has been undergoing a shift of late, also welcoming Cassia’s relocated restaurant and the 50th-floor Skybar.
Renovations are currently underway for the 130-seat restaurant at the base of the Auckland District Law Society building, with Rufus Knight of Knight Associates leading the interior design. Billed as an all-day, inner-city brasserie, Gilt will serve contemporary European-style dishes in a sophisticated setting. In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, the duo said they’re keen to channel the vibrant, consistent energy of famous New York institutions such as Balthazar, The Odeon and Pastis.
O’Connell Street has also been experiencing a change in guard, with a number of great new openings rejuvenating the inner city after a spate of Covid-related closures. It’s now home to cocktail lounge Panacea and Rumours Specialty Coffee, and a four-minute walk away on Lorne Street is new all-day bistro Paname Social.