The buzz: The first and only bar-restaurant in town that proudly brands itself as a New Zealand establishment threw open its doors at Clarke Quay just over two weeks ago.
The décor: Housed in a large and airy two-story space with wooden flooring and furniture, it’s laid-back and loungey; the bar downstairs is perfect for knocking back a few pints, while the main dining area upstairs is just casual enough for a first date.
The food: Simple fare that’s hearty and satisfying. Thanks to head consulting chef don neville , there are some mean New Zealand beef and venison sliders ($24.50) to be had, as well as slow-baked Classic Pork Spare Ribs – A Lone Star Classic (from $19), slathered with a sweet and citrusy rata honey, BBQ and orange glaze. Alternatively, go the seafood route with fresh Pacific oysters (from $27 for six) and sea salt & pepper squid ($16).
The drinks: Don’t be surprised to find a very decent wine list–as you’d expect, crisp Sauvignon Blancs make their presence felt, as do medium-bodied reds like juicy, fruit-driven Pinot Noirs. Beers also put up a strong showing, with Little Creatures ($15) and NZ brews such as Steinlager Pure ($13) and on tap, Mac’s Great White ($14). If you’re in the mood for something sans alcohol, give the Shirley Temple ($8) a try.
The music: Live New Zealand music that spans electro, pop and acoustic tunes.
The crowd: Mostly 30-somethings, made up of a healthy mix of locals and expats.
Why you’ll be back: For some oh-so-friendly Kiwi hospitality and great grub.
Fern & Kiwi is in I-S Best Bars Guide 2014. Download your copy to see where else you should be partying.