Wine bar, tapas-style

When Steve Taylor opened Taylor’s on Hurstmere in June it was the culmination of a long-held dream to own his own hospitality business: one that he could put his own stamp on; one that would express his philosophies about food and hospitality developed over 25 years in Wellington, Melbourne, London and now the North Shore.

“This is my first business and I’ve put my name on it because I’m passionate about it,” he says. “I’m here for the long-term, and I want to personalise it, make it my own and welcome people like family. Because it’s small, we can shape it over time.”

Steve has worked locally for the past three years and feels he now understands the dynamics of the Takapuna hospitality scene. “Through talking to people, I found this is what they were looking for: a local wine bar/eatery that serves a more ‘grown up’ market, with sharing plates and a warm intimate atmosphere. It’s like a wine bar, tapas style,” he says.

It’s clear this is not a regular restaurant – the seven tall tables are matched with high bar stools, and the menu offers a selection of sharing plates that hint of a Southern USA influence, but that also reflect strong Asian influences. The bar has craft beers on tap, a wide selection of bottled beers and New Zealand wines – and a few wines that Steve describes as “international surprises” – you’ll need to ask.

Taylors is run by a team of three – and all three (owner/front of house manager Steve, chef Antony Blincoe and manager Ally Adriaanse) are there every evening to welcome and chat to guests. All three are committed to getting to know patrons as they deliver personal service – along with quality food. Like Steve, who competed his training in hospitality management, Antony has had a long career in the industry, initially training at AUT and following that up with experience in a range of different restaurants. “Quality is a must,” he says. “As you can see, food is my passion. Never trust a skinny chef; you’ve got to know your product!”

He’s enjoying the contact he has with guests at Taylors on Hurstmere. Not only is the kitchen open to the bar and restaurant area but Antony also “runs food out” when Ally and Steve are busy, or steps out into the dining area to chat about what people liked about the food.

The menu is designed to encourage sharing or snacking as guests enjoy evening drinks with work colleagues or friends. “The kitchen is open till 11pm from Tuesday to Saturday, so people can call in at any stage of the evening and get good food and a drink,” says Steve. “I worked in wine bars in London and we’re trying to create that casual feel here. There’s nothing else quite like it in Takapuna.”

Regulars can be sure that favourites, like the arancini balls, snapper sliders, meat balls or the glazed soy and ginger pork belly will remain on the menu, but other items change out regularly based on patrons’ feedback or to suit the seasons.

“We’ve had a couple of successful functions here since we opened; a networking evening and a business association function,” adds Steve. “We’re not a party venue, but we’re ideally placed for a function for 20-30 people, and we can offer the space exclusively. I think that’s unique in Takapuna, so we look forward to hosting more.”

Taylors on Hurstmere, 168 Hurstmere Road, 09 489 9510

Open 3pm till late Tuesday to Saturday; midday – 9pm Sunday

Channel Magazine Issue 81 October 2017. Check out more Channel Magazine articles HERE.