Meet the Chef: Zane Allmand, Thistle Inn

Thistle Inn is an iconic venue as one of the oldest pubs in the country. Thistle Inn strives to be the best pub in New Zealand, with great regulars, bistro-quality food, and old Kiwi favourites. Chef Zane Allmand shared some insight into his relationship with the venue.From growing up cooking for his family to pursuing his love for the craft in culinary school, Allmand enjoys creating great food and customer experiences. At Thistle Inn, they focus on serving classic and local dishes while bringing a bistro-quality standard and Allmand’s own flare. Traditional Kiwi favourites make up their menu, such as smoked Kahwai, lambs fry, and paua.

Creating their own in-house Nduja, Allmand and his general manager, Scott, enjoy getting creative with their menu. Seeing the smiles on their customer's faces is what it’s all about.

Having operated since 1840, Thistle Inn has served many great regulars such as Te Rapauraha and Katherine Mansfield. Being a category one Historic Place, the venue cannot be moved. With the harbour at their doorstep, it’s an amazing spot for visitors to enjoy.

“We still stand tall amongst the buildings surrounding us,” said Allmand.

And now, many years on, Thistle Inn came second in the WOAP competition for their signature burger. After being finalists in the Hospitality Rewards and Visa Wellington, Allmand and his team are confident they are on the right track with their goal of becoming a national favourite.


Rising costs and staffing issues have been the biggest challenges. Finding creative ways to battle these challenges has been a big focus. 

“We are still trying to work through it, but it’s great that we are opening the borders up and hopefully getting some people in to fill the gaps,” said Allmand.

For anyone wanting to progress within the hospitality industry, Allmand encourages being a sponge, and absorbing everything you can. Working in many different restaurants/pubs/cafes is a great way to gain a vast knowledge of the industry and all it can offer. Learning from different owners, managers, and chefs is an excellent way to understand what will or will not work for you.