Jeremy and Imogen welcome you and your friends to Kawau Bay Kitchen. Seasoned hospitality stars they have a collection of many years working in the hospitality industry both here in New Zealand and in the UK. With an eye for detail, huge passion for food and wine they invite you to come in and enjoy a meal and a beverage with them.
Changing faces: Kawau Bay Kitchen, as appeared in Hibiscus Matters, October 1, 2020
After years of working for others in the hospitality industry in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Imogen Witt and Jeremy Watson have decided it is time to put all that experience into their own business.
The couple recently bought Kawau Bay Kitchen, on the Hibiscus Coast Highway in Orewa, and have been busy adding their own touches to the menu and wine list.
“Our menu is contemporary New Zealand food with a European influence, with lots of fresh seasonal ingredients,” Imogen says. “This includes homemade pasta and gnocchi. “We’ve chosen mainly NZ wines that complement the food and we’ve added a cocktail menu as well.”
The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining, and the couple is looking at themed dinners when Covid restrictions allow and live music during summer. They have also introduced a weekend-only brunch menu with dishes that are a little out of the ordinary such as crab cake benedict, hot beans and vegan granola.
In the kitchen is chef Chavez Kilgour who the couple worked with at restaurants in Whangarei and Mount Maunganui.
While opening a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic may not have been their ideal start, Imogen and Jeremy believe the strong community spirit on the Coast will more than compensate for any loss in tourist numbers.
“We get a real sense that locals support locals here, so that’s the market we’ll be catering for,” Jeremy says. “Orewa was the perfect spot for us – close to Auckland so we can dine out and see what other restaurants are doing, and yet in a beautiful environment.”
Originally from York and the Lake District, Imogen and Jeremy arrived in NZ as backpackers in 2016. “The longer we were here, the more we realised we wanted to stay permanently.” They now live on the Coast and say they will be taking a very hands-on approach to their new venture.
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