The insatiable appetites driving New Zealand’s restaurant and bar revolution


The Spinoff's Rose Hoare speaks to chefs, architects, critics and hospitality identities to evaluate the state of the art in eating and drinking – without once using the word ‘foodie’.

For whatever reason, it seems that in the last 15 years or so, we have come to care about food and drink more than ever. “A lot more people are eating out than used to,” says food writer Ray McVinnie. “People are choosing to spend their money on restaurants, whereas they didn’t use to. Food is taken a lot more seriously than it used to be.

These days, bars and restaurants, their customers, and the social media that brings them together, all thrive on novelty. Going out has become a trend-hunt, which has driven – or forced – more innovation.

John Hellebrekers, who as managing director of Barworks oversees 19 Auckland venues, says people decide where to go out based on what’s trending. “You need to keep introducing new flavours that people are craving,” he says. “Social media has made it speed up and it means people aren’t as loyal. Instead of going down to your local on Saturday night, people are wanting something they haven’t experienced before.”


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