The Med Bar & Bistro has now been converted into a functions centre. Try next door at Emporium Eatery & Bar.
While the Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Galley undergoes it’s transformation in Napier ready for Spring 2013 after Art Deco Weekend, so is the space inside the Masonic Hotel. The GMK is no more and the Med Bar Restaurant has just reopened with Shaye from The Old Church taking care of guests.
Neil & Craig are responsible for breathing fresh life into the Masonic with the initiative being their first serious project since taking control of the Med Bar Restaurant in 2010. Neil and Craig previously owned, restored and managed luxury accommodation Greenhill Lodge so know a thing or two about catering to the international market.
I ask Neil what their plans are for the 2013 Napier Art Deco visitors and for locals alike. “MED’s reopening introduces more casual food offerings for people to enjoy alone or share, when popping in for a drink or snack.” says Neil. The same standard of food remains, but with a more varied food style. “Cliff is enjoying developing more of his own style, especially the Asian influence.” says Neil. The style of service although still professional is less formal encouraging people to come in whether they just want a drink, a snack or a full meal. “The emphasis is now on local suppliers where we source our bread from Wizey’s, the meat from Grande Gourmet and Esk Valley for our meat sausages and patties. We also get in a lot from Vetro & Hawke’s Bay Seafood too.”
I’ve driven past the Masonic building hundreds of time yet this is my first visit past the bar. “The Masonic building is very much an iconic building of Napier with the art deco heritage side of things” says Neil. “First it’s the location and the feel good factor that goes with it. It’s astonishing how many guests come from the Marine Parade hotels and we see them again the next night. We don’t try to be fine dining, just good honest food served by friendly staff. We like to think it’s a place you can be in the centre of it all and walk everywhere.” says Neil. “You can have outstanding service without pitching yourself at the top end market. We just have to be clever about how to go about it and be customer focussed.”
So what can Hawke’s Bay locals expect at the Med Bar & Bistro with Shaye now managing the restaurant. “For local guests, it will be all table service. Just take a seat and wait to be served.” says Shaye. “We’re not going to set the tables with white clothes either. People need to feel welcome.” says Shaye. The wine list is reasonably extensive but Med Bar has gone away from a massive wine list. Stella Artois and Mac’s Gold are available on tap.
Shaye continues, “What brought me here was the plans of where the business is heading, I thought, that’s cool. My background is bars, I’m an old school bartender that studied winemaking and went travelling and never got back to it. This is an opportunity for me to put my stamp on things.” The Med has a large traditional bar running the length of the entranceway leading into the wood panelled restaurant on the left. “Are we clean, are we set, are we ready?” asks Shaye to his team as they prepare for the reopening of Med Bar & Bistro.
The menu keeps things affordable and shareable with a selection of four small plates and a pizza for $70. If there’s just two of you, there’s lasagne, Lamb navarin or Roasted Pock Rack big enough to share. The clay oven pizza is available for the beef ragout pizza, roasted chicken pizza or simple tomato, mozzarella and pesto pizza. “Guests could share one and you’d feel like you’ve had a meal.” recommends Shaye.
Cliff has been the head chef at Med Bar & Bistro for four years now. “Cliff presents his menu to us with the direction he wants to take. It’s very much Cliff’s menu. He’s coming into his own now.” says Neil. Cliff brings out three dishes he’s cooked for us. The first is roasted duck spring rolls with dal and kasundi which is a spicy chutney recipe from India. “It’s a fusion and curry mix with lentil sauce” says Cliff. The duck spring rolls are crispy with a delicate spice that makes for an ideal starter or as a sharer dish over a couple of beers in front of the fire. The next dish is master stock braised chicken leg, coriander panisse cake, soy braised spring onions and Peking jus. The braised chicken leg is deboned and has a richness to flavour that comes from the master stock. The panisse is a chick pea based traditional southern Indian dish, similar to polenta I’m told.
With each of these dishes Cliff has added an extra twist. “I having worked with asian chefs in Melbourne and am inspired by the asian chefs. I like the cuisine itself and I can get those flavours in my dishes. I get to use more of my own background now.” says Cliff. The last dish brought out is a simple eye fillet of New Zealand beef, with creamed cavlo nero and dijon mustard jus with an added bonus of a miniature pastry pie to the side. If I could order the pies on their own, I probably would!
The Med Bar & Bistro is now striving to deliver an honest approach to food, produced from seasonal and fresh ingredients. To take a fresh look at Med Bar & Bistro, send them a tweet, check out the new menu or pop in any day of the week 4pm till late or from 11am on weekends.
- The GMK is no more and the Med Bar Restaurant has just reopened Tweet
- The menu keeps things affordable with a selection of four small plates and a pizza for $70 Tweet
- MED’s reopening introduces more casual food offerings for people to enjoy Tweet
Med Menu | 2 Tennyson Street Napier | Book by Email | Phone 06 835 8689