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An evening at Aosta

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‘Michael Hill and Ben Bayly invite you to attend a special evening to taste food and drinks at our new restaurant Aosta’

I’d heard whispers about a new restaurant in Arrowtown for months and was very excited to hear the new chef was renowned chef Ben Bayly.

First impressions first; Aosta looks stunning. Designed by the Architect Anne Marie Chin, the genius behind the award-winning Lodge at The Hills, the fit and interior look amazing. Meeting Anne-Marie and her team over a glass of bubbles – its clear they love their work and wow does it show!

So why Aosta?

Aosta is a valley in Northern Italy with many similarities to Arrowtown.  With four defined seasons, similar growing conditions and on the parallel latitude, the Aosta valley and Arrowtown have more similarities than you would ever expect. Ben Bayly declares that "We're focusing on the marriage between Central Otago and Southland ingredients and Northern Italian technique and philosophy."

The Menu

As the evening went on, we served tasting dishes of some of the menus highlights.

KINA PAPPARDELLE SHAVED PAUA Fried leeks, Terra Sancta’s yolk

FLAME GRILLED SARDINES Cromwell dried cherries, pickled shaved fennel & pinoli

TORTELLINI Wairiri buffalo curd, brown buttered chestnuts, wild mushrooms, Soave raisins

WILD SHOT RED DEER CHEEKS Pickled black walnuts, Colatura di alici, potatoes & calvolo nero


Whilst they were all delicious, my favourite was the Paua pasta. With fresh pasta made onsite and Paua shavings too, this was a dish to remember and I would recommend anyone to choose this.

Special mentions must go out to the deer cheeks and to the Tiramisu. Both amazing and I’d choose it again in a heartbeat. I’d never been a huge tiramisu fan until that evening – That has certainly changed.

You will not be disappointed!

For anyone wondering whether to go, do it - you will not be disappointed. I’ll leave you with one highlight of the evening:

Mid way through Sir Michael Hill leapt onto one of the benches to welcome everyone and declare their intention that this would be the best restaurant in New Zealand.

 It’s early days yet, but the combination of driven owners, an amazing chef, beautiful architecture and stunning food means it can’t be far off.

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