Ani’s Gin Bar & Tapas

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Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

MondayClosed.

Tuesday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Wednesday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Thursday5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Friday5:00 – 9:30 pm.

Saturday5:00 – 9:30 pm.

SundayClosed.

1161 Amohau Street, Rotorua

07 350 1206

One hundred per cent Māori owned and featuring exclusively New Zealand-based produce and drinks, dining at Ani’s Gin Bar & Tapas feels like you’re being welcomed into the whānau of founder Lorisse Vincent-Amor. The restaurant is named after Lorisse’s late mother, and the menu of modernised Māori kai is inspired by a nostalgia for the kai of her childhood and builds on Lorisse’s decades of experience as a chef. Many dishes feature native botanicals such as kawakawa or horopito, and those flavours are echoed throughout the bar’s extensive gin collection.

Everything is served family-style. Build your meal from the menu of “Smaller Bites Tapas”, “Bigger Tapas”, “Meaty Tapas”, “Sides” and “Sweet As Tapas”. The crispy, moreish housemade duck fat-fried crispy potatoes are fluffy on the inside and dusted with savoury pecorino cheese; the “Buttery Buttered Cabbage” delivers on its name and is an excellent accompaniment to the fall-off-the-bone tender pork ribs. This dish is perhaps the sleeper hit of the entire menu—hearty, melt-in-your-mouth, with a sweet-spicy char siu jus. Just order two from the get-go. Other standouts include the heaping bowlful of mixed kaimoana cooked in garlic, chilli, fennel and white wine, as well as the creamy pāua and pancetta raviolo.

If you just want a drink, snag a seat at the bar, where Lorisse reigns supreme. All of the spirits on offer are from New Zealand distilleries, and she sources some seriously unusual flavour combinations—think Feijoa & Pear Gin from National Distillery, a coconut, lime and lemongrass number called The Doyenne from Bureaucrats Gin, and even a vodka made from fermented sheep milk from White Sheep Co that sips neat, like an alcoholic milk bottle. Order from the cocktail menu, or rely on Lorisse’s experience and build-your-own gin and tonic. Either way, you’ll leave feeling like family.

Words by Claire Williamson & Photography by Jerome Warburton

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Location

1161 Amohau Street, Rotorua

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