New fine-dining restaurant dedicated to Pacific cuisine

What's Fresh 04/05/2017

A new Pasifika restaurant in Auckland is hoping to change a few negative stereotypes.

Kai Pasifika serves up fine-dining cuisine - something which is not often associated with island food.

It's celebrity chef Robert Oliver's latest food baby, a restaurant he says was a long time coming. 

"To me, this is such a natural for Auckland because we are a Pacific city, we're a Pacific country and we have an awesome Pasifika community here," he told Newshub.

Despite Auckland's huge multi-cultural population and large Pacific community, this is the first restaurant solely dedicated to Pacific cuisine.

"I think there's been a bit of misconception about what Pacific Island cuisine has, but that's what restaurants do, they address those."

Undeterred by a failed crowdfunding campaign last year, Mr Oliver still managed to open the doors to the public on Tuesday night.

Diner Abel Smith says until now, he's travelled back to Fiji each year to get his taste of home.

"To have something like this here, which is in my back door - you know, I live just down the road - it's like, wow."

Inside the kitchen, chef Bertrand Jang cooks up a storm. He's always dreamed of serving traditional dishes from his homeland, Fiji, and wants diners to feel like they're eating in the islands.

"Everyone loves Fiji and they come and they're like, 'The food is good, I love the people,'" he said.

"So we're trying to create that same, so you don't actually have to step off a plane - you can just come to 3 Mt Eden Rd and experience the same."

The menu boasts traditional lamb, fresh fish and pork, and even KFC - Kaiviti fried chicken.

"You could say it's a bit of a piss take and not traditional food, but it is one of those things that's become embedded in Pacific culture," Mr Oliver said.

Those needing a quick escape to the islands can now find a taste of Pacific paradise without going too far.