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Fol­low­ing the extens­ive refur­bish­ment of the hotel’s ground floor, we took the oppor­tun­ity to rein­vent Chamele­on Res­taur­ant. What we have achieved is a con­tem­por­ary, mod­ern menu with the set­ting and din­ing exper­i­ence to match. We provide innov­at­ive New Zea­l­and dishes cre­ated from loc­al and region­ally sourced products such as Tio Point oysters, West Coast white­bait, Har­ring­tons eco pork and Nel­son scal­lops. Our menu is our point of dif­fer­ence, enabling res­taur­ant guests to enjoy a selec­tion of dishes made from the best fresh sea­son­al pro­duce on offer. Here is a recipe for one of my sig­na­ture dishes, which is a com­bin­a­tion of fla­vours I love.

Lemon thyme-crusted groper with taramasalata, olive oil crushed Jersey Benne potatoes and tomato vinaigrette




Tomato vinai­grette

  • 10 toma­toes, cut into quarters
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 cloves gar­lic, crushed
  • 100ml white bal­sam­ic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp roas­ted tomato paste
  • 250ml tomato juice
  • Olive oil (to cover)
  • Salt and pep­per to taste



  • 75g smoked groper roe
  • 25ml lem­on juice
  • 25g onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves gar­lic, roasted
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 125ml grape­seed oil


Lem­on thyme crust

  • 100g Panko breadcrumbs
  • 30g lem­on thyme or plain thyme, destalked
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • Salt and pep­per to taste
  • 30–50ml cla­ri­fied butter


Olive oil crushed potatoes

  • 400g Jer­sey Benne potatoes
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 30g chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and pep­per to taste



  • 400g groper, cut into 100g portions
  • Micro­greens to garnish



  1. First, make the vinai­grette. Com­bine all the ingredi­ents, ensur­ing the toma­toes are just covered by the liquid, and leave to mar­in­ate for 3 days.
  2. Strain by push­ing through a fine-mesh sieve and allow to stand for 2–3 hours. Using a ladle, extract the vinai­grette from the top and dis­card the clear liquid at the bot­tom. Before serving, blend the vinai­grette to emul­si­fy it.
  3. To make the tara­mas­al­ata, peel or trim the roe, then blend with the lem­on juice, onion and roast gar­lic until white and fluffy.
  4. Slowly blend in the oils to form an emul­sion (sim­il­ar to a may­on­naise). Add water or extra lem­on juice if the mix­ture becomes too thick.
  5. Next, make the lem­on thyme crust by mix­ing the first 5 ingredi­ents with the cla­ri­fied but­ter until the bread­crumbs are moist.
  6. For the olive oil crushed pota­toes, boil the pota­toes in salted water until cooked, drain and then lightly crush. Sauté in a pan until golden brown, then add the olive oil, chives and seasoning.
  7. When you are ready to eat, sear the fish on both sides in a pan with olive oil and but­ter. Remove from the pan and sprinkle the herb crust on top. Bake in the oven until the fish is cooked and the crust is golden brown.
  8. To serve, pour the vinai­grette onto a plate and pos­i­tion the pota­toes so that the fish can sit on top. Place a que­nelle of tara­mas­al­ata on the fish and gar­nish with microgreens.


Serves 4