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Hospitality Awards: Rivalry running hot

The Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards focus on the best of the best, across 13 categories which cover all facets of the industry which makes the Bay and its destinations a special place. Hawke’s Bay Today will profile the finalists in the build-up to the awards on May 25.

The region’s top ethnic restaurants have been narrowed down to four finalists in this year’s hospitality awards.

Purveyors of fine exotic cuisine are in the running for the Sportsground.co.nz Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant award, which will be announced this month.

Indian restaurant Indigo in Napier is a finalist, having won the award for the past two years.

Owner Paul Anderson said he was rapt to receive the nod yet again.

“We’re always very pleased to be recognised in any category. “We’ve continued to come out with new menus and new dishes,” he said.

Mr Anderson’s extensive travels in India and Scotland had inspired the restaurant’s huge whiskey collection, which is the biggest in the country.

Meanwhile, Ahuriri Mexican restaurant Mexi Mama is a newcomer to the category this year.

The restaurant’s manager, Jamie Buckley, said the team was “stoked” to be a finalist for the first time.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into being authentic, that’s one of our main drives. Our head chef, Jonathan del Pino, all our menus are based on things he’s seen in Mexico on trips.

“We really feel like we’ve made steady progress in the year and five months we’ve been open.”

Another Mexican eatery, Mamacita in Havelock North, was pleased to be a finalist for the second year in a row.

Director Liv Reynolds said it was fantastic to be acknowledged.

“It’s very encouraging for our team.

“We make adjustments to our menu, we constantly update it with what’s seasonal and fresh, but our philosophy remains the same.”

Also on the list is awards veteran Namaskar, the Indian restaurant in Havelock North, which has been a finalist for the past three years.

Namaskar manager Kerian Madappapp was hoping his team would scoop the award this time around.

“We are doing a good job, providing customer satisfaction,” he said.

The restaurant now had an exciting new wine list, featuring local drops from Trinity Hill and Clearview Estate.

Hawkes Bay Today