Graze Wine Bar: a cosy restaurant with a big heart
Nestled in Kelburn village, Graze is a sustainably focused wine bar that's sure to become your new local
Cosy and quaint, Graze is a village wine bar nestled in the hills of Kelburn. What was once a neighbourhood butcher shop is now a meat-free restaurant, serving small plates in an intimate and welcoming space. Perch up at the bar or in a window-side seat to enjoy an evening filled with love for both food and the planet.
Kelburn's slower pace and peaceful atmosphere is a fitting environment for Graze. Often filled with locals on their way home, the 22-seater bar meets relaxed restaurant is the perfect mix of casual and quirky. Its laid back attitude makes it easy to pop in for a quick drink and snack, but the interesting menu means many people end up staying for a full meal.
Owned by husband and wife team Max Gordy and Stina Persen, the duo have poured their hearts and souls into every aspect of the restaurant.
With the aim of becoming zero-waste, Graze has a concise and considered pescatarian menu. Written on a blackboard on the wall (for both ease of flexibility and to avoid printing paper menus), the offering regularly changes depending on the day's catch, seasonal availability, or even the weather. Kelburn's lush, green surroundings mean there's plenty of opportunity for foraging ingredients.
Using only sustainably caught fish and seafood means the dishes are fresh and bursting with flavour. Locally-grown vegetables are showcased in new and unusual ways. In-house pickles and preserves are the perfect accompaniment (and double as a colourful shelf decoration).
If you're unsure what to order, let Graze decide for you. There are two chef's tasting options that sample the kitchen's favourites of the day. Take your pick from the smaller "snack attack", or get one of everything with "the full shebang".
As the name suggests, the wine bar has a highly curated wine list. A range of New Zealand wines can be ordered by the glass, showcasing many of the country's smaller and lesser-known vineyards. Most of the varietals on offer are organic or biodynamic. Two cocktails are available and feature spirits from a local distillery, Southward Distillery.
Max and Stina's focus on sustainability and low waste extends to the restaurant's fit-out. Food is served on quirky mismatched plates sourced from local op-shops. Diners sit at tables made from recycled floorboards, on seat covers made of old jeans, hand-sewn by Stina. Above, hang colourful light shades rescued from the tip-shop. A retro sign of a smiling cartoon butcher on the wall welcomes you as you enter, and nods to the space's former life.
Graze is open evenings Wednesday - Friday, and from midday on weekends. Bookings recommended.