Kāpiti restaurant 50-50 is 100 percent delicious
Food so original and skilful, that you'll keep glancing out of the window to make sure you're not in an episode of Masterchef
The first thing you should know is that 50-50 only serves degustations. The second is that 50-50 is totally unpretentious and laidback. And the third thing is that co-owner and chef Helen Turnbull has won awards and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants.
'Degustation' is the French word for 'tasting'. So, a degustation is literally a menu that offers you lots of different dishes to try. There are options for six or nine courses, and you can add on a wine matching experience if you’re keen on the full monty.
Wizardry on your plate
While the number of dishes may sound excessive, when they start to appear it quickly becomes clear that while small, they’re plentiful and perfectly formed. Those who have been to this unassuming little restaurant look knowingly at the uninitiated, as they gasp with amazement at the wizardry on their plates, courtesy of chef Helen Turnbull.
A culinary journey
Snapper sashimi with shiso, sesame and myoga; an earthy, rich pumpkin soup with hibiscus sultanas; grilled quail; duck breast with Bengali persimmon relish and gruyere; pressed pear terrine with pine, juniper and sour cherry tuile - the flavour combinations are like nothing you’ve tried before, and the degustation journey is balanced perfectly, leaving you both full, and slightly astonished at the culinary expedition you’ve just been on.
But how did a place such as 50-50 come to be?
Turnbull says it’s all about her vision of what makes New Zealand a special place to be. Like our seasons, the menu is constantly changing and reflects not only that but also the produce she manages to find the time to grow in her garden, taking the concept of earth-to-plate right in-house. The dishes on offer showcase not only her skills but techniques and flavours from all around the globe.
From Hell's Kitchen to Helen's kitchen
Turnbull is a creative dynamo with international experience that has seen her work with Japanese chefs in Tokyo, earn top accolades in the UK and excel while training under the intimidating genius of Gordon Ramsay, before getting headhunted by top-end hospitality leaders back in Aotearoa.
Laidback, approachable and world-class
Turnbull lives and breathes what she does. Her creative process begins with respect for the raw product and an understanding of the possibilities that arise from there. And it’s this that makes the good restaurants so special - they’re like a portal to other places using the sense of taste as the transport.
50-50 is a fantastic example of this - unassuming and approachable, without a trace of pretentiousness, yet serving up cuisine that is right up there with the best. Eat here and prepare to cross a culinary line there’s no going back from.