Robert "Bob" Fairs gained a stellar reputation as head chef at renowned, and now-closed, Lyttelton restaurant Roots. He continues to build on this with his wine bar Londo. The compact, unpretentious space turns out diverse sharing dishes inspired by Fairs's experiences cooking and eating in Dubai, London and Copenhagen.
Fairs has a gift for flavour and texture. A carrot dish becomes an event when served on romesco sauce, with generous handfuls of house-made dukkah and fresh herbs; beef tartare might be served atop a punchy salsa verde, and garnished with pickled tomatillos and radish slices.
The wine list spans New Zealand and international makers, with a focus on low-intervention and organic methods; there's craft beer on tap and a short, evolving cocktail list that might include various highballs, a rum gimlet and a mezcal sour.
Londo's Emma Solomon-designed interior is light and pared-back; pull up a stool at the bespoke pale wooden counter by local woodcraft studio Xylo and watch as Fairs and the team prepare your meal – or nestle in at one of the long, black-topped tables along the edge of the room.
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