Highwater Eatery

Come hell or Highwater Eatery

A Saturday morning coffee, a long lunch or an evening of fine dining, it’s always a good time for a visit — come hell or highwater

It’s that kind of determination and commitment to the cause in the face of anything — that has seen the Cuba Street restaurant Highwater get through challenging times not just with success, but accolades.

The meaning of Highwater’s name runs deeper, however. It’s a nod to climate change, while also referencing the restaurant’s position on lower Cuba St, where the shoreline used to lie until land reclamation in the late 1800s.

Highwater’s Wellington ties run deep, with its fit-out designed by Matterhorn’s architect Allistair Cox, where co-owners Alric Hansen and Ben Farren started their hospitality journey. “We knew (Cox) did great work,” says the third co-owner Rachael Stevens. “We worked quite collaboratively to get to the design to where it worked both aesthetically for what we were after — which was something both modern and timeless, open and inclusive, to working with the building, its natural features and its constraints.”

The result is a contemporary, laid-back space, half-filled with tables beside exposed brick walls, with the other half dominated by the energetic open kitchen, where diners can watch their food being created.

Almost everything at Highwater is made in-house, from the bread and butter to the sausages and bacon. The menu is seasonal and changes regularly, harnessing local produce from suppliers focused on sustainable growing and farming practises. Sustainability is at the heart of Highwater’s philosophy. They have a focus on low-impact fishing, free-range meat, renewable energy and a commitment to biodegradable packaging, as well as composting.

The trio of co-owners has a history of successful work together. For five years, they owned and operated the award-winning Melbourne café Small Victories. The team greatly admired the calibre of restaurants and cafés in Melbourne and wanted to bring this same level of quality with them in their venture back home.

The restaurant offers a range of dining options, open for dinner five nights, lunch on Fridays and brunch on the weekend. Diners can build their own experience, sampling a few snacks, a main or a selection of shared plates. With ever-changing delicacies like brioche french toast, Cook Strait octopus, organic vegetable bowls and nori salt and pepper karaage with mussel emulsion, there’s absolutely something for everyone.

Where: Cuba Precinct

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