Sir Michael Hill and Ben Bayly team up

Chef Ben Bayly and jeweller and philanthropist Sir Michael Hill are teaming up to bring a taste of Northern Italy to Arrowtown. The new restaurant, which will be called Aosta, will have a menu comprised of ragu, pasta, gnocchi, risotto, and tantalising saffron and truffle flavourings.

Hill talked about his desire to snag Bayly for his newest venture, saying, “As soon as we started to discuss it, we said how do we get Ben Bayly here. We wanted to work with the best people, and that is what we have. From the best maître ‘d, the best designer and architect, and Ben in the kitchen.” The idea behind the kitchen is that it is an extension of the food that Hill has at home. On top of this, Bayly expressed his delight in settling into the area. “I’m really excited because I’ve had my eye on this part of the world and I think being here is going to make me a better cook. I’m excited to put down roots and am so looking forward to getting to know the region in terms of produce and farming.”

According to Bayly, the restaurant is going to be “intimate and bustling.” Seating around 45 people, the restaurant is not going to be “fine dining with white table cloths,” but it will be “bloody good.” On top of providing exquisite food for the community, Aosta will partner with children at Arrowtown Primary School who are being taught how to grow herbs. The children will soon be responsible for growing all of Aosta’s herbs, such as basil and coriander. The children will be reimbursed for their efforts and will learn the art of business.

With Aosta opening next Saturday, Hill has said that “people can expect a meal that comes out quickly, [the meal] will be beautiful, it will be fresh, [and] it won’t be prohibitively expensive.”

“The aim of all of this? We wish to have the finest restaurant in the South Island, but we want people to feel relaxed and at home here.”