Wednesday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Thursday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Friday11:30 am – 9:00 pm.
Saturday10:00 am – 9:00 pm.
Sunday10:00 am – 9:00 pm.
24 Esplanade, Saint Clair
tītī, sits perched above the sea on the St. Clair waterfront just a 15 minutes drive from Dunedin’s CBD. Just like the tītī, or mutton bird, that travels the world before returning to NZ, this restaurant draws inspiration from all over while simultaneously celebrating what we have right here.
Mel and Hannes, front of house and head chef respectively, opened tītī in early 2020 after operating Glenfalloch Garden and Restaurant. The vast majority of the ingredients they use are sourced from the surrounding landscape which is so beautifully displayed in tītī’s picturesque dining room.
Serving both lunch and dinner, tītī offers experiential dining in a way that is extremely high quality but also completely approachable. At lunch time you can choose from a two course menu, three course menu or from the a la carte Belgian Waffle options. The lunch mains often feature smaller portions of dinner items and rotate to match what's growing. Dishes have included agria potato gnocchi with celeriac, mushrooms, brussel sprouts and parmesan and Fiordland venison ragout with hazelnut spätzle and heirloom carrots. As Mel put it, lunch at tītī is like ‘Trust the Chef for beginners’.
The Belgian Waffles, meanwhile, are one of head chef Hannes’s many specialities. To make them he uses a special pearled sugar which lends each waffle a slightly crispy exterior and fluffy interior. Topped with combinations like chocolate, beetroot and orange or fried chicken, kimchi slaw and lime sour cream, these waffles are an absolute treat.
Dinner at tītī is three or five courses and Mel and Hannes manage to design menus that are familiar and exotic all at once. There’s always a balance between comforting dishes and experimental plates. And make no mistake, this isn’t the kind of tasting menu that will leave you still hungry. The portions are robust in size, colour, flavour and texture and highlights have included Cantervalley Duck with mango, coconut and lemongrass and beetroot sorbet with chocolate, passionfruit and voatsiperifery for dessert.
Every dish at tītī is crafted with care and delivers when it comes to flavour and value. The approach itself is exciting but it also makes sense. By working with local providers, Gravity Fishing, Ettrick’s produce, Havoc Pork, Common Ground Espresso and others, Hannes not only sources the freshest ingredients but also ensures there's as little waste as possible. The kitchen team at tītī only order what they need and use every aspect of each ingredient fully. Fish, for example, are used whole, right down to the frames which are used for stocks. Every ingredient is fully honoured here.
The wine list, which Mel curates, even changes every three to four months to mirror the best of what's currently on offer from New Zealand’s many award winning wineries. Whether you’re a life long foodie or simply want to try something new, head to tītī for lunch, dinner or even just a drink and a nibble.
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou
24 Esplanade, Saint Clair