At Whitebait the dishes are all about the ingredients – in fact they are a showcase for them.
Our chefs use fresh, seasonal produce. We try to source our ingredients from our local region where we can. Our strong relationships with our suppliers ensures we receive the best quality produce and seafood – we honour that quality by treating all ingredients with respect and care. We also love to forage for ingredients – you may see us in Mount Victoria hunting mushrooms or on the beach looking for local seaweed!
The seafood is treated with the reverence it deserves. Finfish are caught by long line. A myriad of seafood is seasonally available including Bluenose, Hapuka, Snapper, John Dory, Salmon and other finfish. We also feature crab, paua, tuatua, clams and selection of oysters. At Whitebait we have our own Fishmonger to select and prepare every piece of seafood.
For owner and Executive Chef Paul Hoather the focus is serving the freshest and best ingredients, cooked using techniques that will enhance the flavour to its full potential. To complement natures’ bounty all dishes are made fresh and by hand – this includes our wonderfulful sauces, pastas, sausages and our bread Wellington Sourdough.
We’re proud to offer “Wellington Sourdough” as part of our menu and for you to buy to take home.
We believe in environmental responsibility so we work with our suppliers to minimise our carbon footprint, ensure all of our ingredients are organic, harvested sustainably and that our natural resources are respected.
Introduction to the Whitebait Wine list!
Stephen Wong, Wine Authority & Sommelier to Whitebait
Our wine programme is inspired by the site at the meeting of sea, sky, and city; just as our food takes advantage of our unique location and our abundant local produce surrounding the Cook Strait, so does our wine list – drawing significantly on the local regions.
At Whitebait our aim is to always offer a dynamic, tightly-curated selection focusing on organic, sustainable and hand-made wines. We want to showcase the finest of what is available from local producers and varieties, and to complement this by also offering a small, specialised selection from abroad.
We see our place clearly as a generation with an appreciation of tradition, but with eyes looking firmly to the future. We want to play an active role in the discovery of NZ cuisine and wine, and to bring you new tastes and flavour combinations. To that end, our list and glass poured options are designed to encourage experimentation without sacrificing quality or costing the earth.
We love wines which make dining a fun and unforgettable experience, and we love sharing them with you!!
About the Coravin!
Part of making that possible is our glass pour programme, which incorporates the Coravin system. This is a wine serving and preservation system that allows us to access wine from bottles without extracting the corks, and delivers the wine safely via displacement with argon gas. This extends the pristine quality of the wine left in the bottle by several orders of magnitude longer than any other portable preservation system we’ve tested.
It also lets us tap into rare and interesting bottles of wine to serve them by the glass without fear of damaging or losing the rest of the bottle. This makes not only great wine more accessible in smaller servings, but also lets us introduce interesting wines which we have not previously been confident of selling an entire bottle of before the wine deteriorates.
Te Reo/Maori language
Whitebait is a celebration of New Zealand, our seafood, our produce and our culture. That’s why you will also find te Reo (Maori language) translations in the menu. Maori believe that during our life we are caretakers of the land (Papatuanuku) and are responsible for the proper use of it. Food was gathered according to the seasons and nothing was wasted – you ate what you caught. Because of this philosophy, food was naturally sustainable. For us it’s just another small way that at Whitebait we can keep tradition alive – with sustainability and gathering only the best seasonal produce.
Environmental and social responsibility
At Whitebait we are committed to being an environmental and socially responsible business. So where possible we work with local producers and suppliers to reduce our carbon foot-print, we try to always work with organic or free-range produce and sustainably harvested seafood. We recycle our packaging and bottles, we belong to Kai To Compost (so we can compost all organic waste) and have energy efficiency lighting. We are also accredited members of Conscious Consumers.
We believe it is important to actively engage in our local community – we take on students on work experience in the kitchen and we support a range of local community groups through the donation of vouchers for fundrasing. In the past we have been very active fund-raising for the Heart & Lung Unit of Wellington Hospital and we look to continue this at Whitebait over the years to come.