Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to touch down in New Zealand this October and there is still no word on what their itinerary will be. However, any restaurant lucky enough to host the royal couple will need to be aware of the very strict protocol to which the Royals have to adhere while travelling. The couple will be unable to enjoy New Zealand’s abundant seafood or vibrant multicultural cuisine, which means that some of the country’s top restaurants will be off limits.
Every member of the royal family actively avoids shellfish and seafood, due to the risk of infection when eaten raw. Royals often follow tight schedules, so illness of any kind is to be avoided at any cost – even if that cost is forgoing a trip to Harbourside and eating a meal prepared by Ora King mentor Shaun Tyagi while overlooking the Auckland harbour from the historic Ferry Building, or a ban on watching the sunrise from Fleur’s Place in Moeraki, renowned for selling the freshest seafood right off the boat. The Bluff Oyster festival will also be well off-limits, but that shouldn’t be an issue in October.
In a similar effort to avoid food poisoning, Meghan and Harry will be instructed to stay away from raw meat in any form. The couple will have to stay away from Augustus Bistro, Jervois Steak House, Euro and The Grill, all known for their steak tartare. They also won’t want to stay at The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in the Bay of Islands, which ignited a national furore last year after MPI took issue with its restaurant’s medium rare patty in its Governor’s Burger. Executive chef Dan Fraser won that particular battle with the government, so there will no Winterless North for the royal pair.
In a country that prides itself as being a cultural melting pot, Harry and Meghan may struggle to find a way around the royal ban on spicy food and exotic spices. Virtually all of Auckland’s Dominion Road will be off limits, as will Sid Sahrawat’s critically acclaimed restaurants Cassia and Sidart, the latter having been newly revamped with a focus on Indian cuisine. It will also mean no Hot n’ Spicy chicken from KFC, which has recently been reintroduced much to the delight of fans.
Also on the blacklist is garlic and, to a lesser extent, onions. While both seem like fairly common ingredients, the risk of bad breath is too great for a pair who will be spending a lot of time trying their best to make a good impression. It will, however, mean that they won’t be able to enjoy Bradley Hornby’s winning dish from the 2017 Plate of Origin competition, which featured fermented black garlic from local producer Marlborough Garlic. The garlic isn’t the only offender – the dish also featured mussels.
Tap water is also to be avoided. While it isn’t often a problem in New Zealand – although the people of Havelock North would likely disagree – poor water quality in other countries in the Commonwealth has resulted on a blanket ban on tap water for Royals while on tour. Luckily New Zealand has no shortage of quality bottled water, from Nakd. to Antipodes, so the Royals will remain well hydrated.
These bans are all are edicts issued by a monarchy hardly known for keeping with the times, and the rules are frequently ignored by the younger generation – even Prince Charles has been spotted slurping oysters at a festival in the UK and Prince William shared a medium-rare steak with former PM John Key on his last visit to New Zealand. Hopefully Meghan and Harry will also throw royal caution to the wind, at risk of missing out on some of the finest cuisine New Zealand has to offer.