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Zibibbo is back!

By Heather 21 Oct 2015

Zibibbo has flown under the radar in recent years, but with their 2015 Visa Wellington On a Plate menu win - and Glen Taylor at the helm - they’re centre stage once again.


“Flavour on the plate, rather than dramatics”

The décor and ambience is the same as we know and love, but to keep things fresh Glen is subtly changing the food to a little more NZ contemporary rather than just Spanish and Mediterranean, delivered with modern cooking techniques and a lighter touch (less butter and oil). "Flavour on the plate, rather than dramatics” is how Glen sees it.

FUN FACT ONE: Glen was on a chair at his grandmothers side, helping swirl gravy pans at age 5.

They like to use quality local suppliers, as well as growing a lot of their own fruits and greenery, either on the roof of Zibibbo or at Adam Newell's (founder and partner) farm in the Wairarapa. 

FUN FACT TWO: Apparently truly fresh tarragon gives you a slightly numb mouth (however sellers may not appreciate you sucking on their tarragon to check!).

I considerately took along three others so we could sample widely, and here's some of the feedback:

  • The caramelised pear and goat cheese tart entree was sensational, light and oh-so-pretty. 
  • The fresh curd and pine nut tortellini was huge for an entrée (foiled again on fitting dessert!), offset nicely with crispy greens and grains. The lentils really made this dish.
  • The roasted lamb was perfectly and evenly cooked across the whole piece, not an easy thing to achieve. Although not a ‘wet’ dish, it was still moist in the mouth and showcased classic flavour pairings.
  • The Reserve aged eye fillet had a lovely just-sweet jus and memorable mushroom puree. My friend appreciated the fillet being pre-sliced and ‘accessible’.
  • The large triple cooked chips are very large. Proceed with caution if you want to fit dessert (no, I'm not the mystery chip fiend).
  • The pecan pie with butterscotch sauce was verrry moorish. After spoons at dawn (err, dusk) I managed to steal a mouthful, and can report it equalled The Hideaway's version (my gold standard in pecan pie).

FUN FACT THREE: Those famed wooden tapas platters came from the ceiling 15 years ago when they cut a hole to install their pizza oven. 

We managed to drink them out of Hancock brown ale (the chip fiend’s fault), enjoyed the Nga Waka chardonnay, and got hooked on the Loveblock gewürztraminer. There's something for everyone on the Zibby's drink list.

With a menu ranging from pizza to finer dishes, prix fixe (pre-show), a separate vegetarian menu, ever-changing Sunday roasts and Friday lunch burgers (keep your eye on their Facebook page), tapas in the bar, and special occasion menus, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy Zibibbo week after week. 

So what next for Glen and Zibby’s? Keep your eyes peeled for the sale of their own designed wood ovens soon, extension of the rooftop garden, conversion of some bar space to another private dining room, and possibly a sister venture next year. 

We watch with interest.

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Zibibbo features a stylish 85-seat restaurant serving Mediterranean-style food, complemented by a bar and cocktail lounge.

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