There is no doubt about it - we live in an age of beef and lamb. There are few of us who can resist the call of a juicy steak or a delicately seasoned rack of lamb. There is something about it that makes the mouth water.
Whether it's that first whiff, first bite, or even the first glance, there is nothing as amazing as a beautifully cooked piece of red meat. Which is why, when we live in an era of high food expectations, it is important to find that perfect place to savor the quality beef and lamb New Zealand has to offer.
New Zealand cities are being stampeded by herds of restaurants fanatical for beef and lamb, so much so that patrons expect more than just a piece of grilled meat on their plate.
The country is known worldwide for its impeccable cuts of lamb and juicy pieces of beef, so it makes sense that meat lovers across the country would seek out and celebrate, who makes what we naturally farm, into something even more spectacular.
The New Zealand Beef and Lamb Excellence Award, summon patrons to vote for their favorite restaurant in each region. The restaurant that creates the tastiest, most brilliantly composed and most marvelously presented Kiwi beef and lamb dishes gets the vote followed by the people's choice award.
About 4000 diners voted over a six week period to decide their regional winner and Hotel d'Urville of Blenheim, with chef Maree Connolly at the helm, took the prize in the Nelson/ Marlborough / West Coast area.
The awards are designed to acknowledge a consistently high standard of beef and lamb cuisine. The regional winners have not been compared with each other, but are each judged on their own merits. Restaurants compete annually for the award within their region and diners are given a voting card when they order a main course of beef or lamb dish. The competition sets to highlight and reward the outstanding beef and lamb available in New Zealand restaurants.
And it's easy to see why Hotel d'Urville won voter's hearts. With beef selections including Westland Eye Fillet Mignon, Eye Fillet wrapped in "Pestells" streaky smoked bacon, Canterbury Angus Pure Eye Fillet which is grass fed naturally aged for minimum of 21 days, local Awatere Valley Black Angus Sirloin, 'Firstlight' NZ Bred Wagyu Ribeye (marbled grade 7 to 9), or an Oven Roasted Lamb Rack, diners fell in love with the selection and high standard, of both the meat and technique.
Winners throughout the rest of the country include Te Maroro of Northland/Auckland, Agenda of Waikato, Mission Estate Winery Restaurant of Hawkes Bay, Dejeuner Restaurant of Manawatu, The Brantry of Taupo /Rotorua, Bistro of Bay of Plenty, Charlie Bill - Fine Food Bistro of Wellington / Wairarapa, Black & White Restaurant and Café of Taranaki, Chillingworth Road of Canterbury and Redcliff Café of Otago / Southland.