Everyone’s talking about it.

“We love to see a restaurant’s special quirks and Baduzzi has plenty of them” – Denizen

“I was impressed by the attention to detail; every plate is stunning, the cutlery feels weighty in your hands, the marble table tops are cool to the touch” – Gather & Hunt

“As much thought has gone into the space itself as the food, with personalised Baduzzi wallpaper a nice addition to the dark wood, copper and olive leather. The outdoor tables will no doubt be a hit come summer” – Cuisine

The many rave reviews on the restaurant’s facebook page reinforce its success.

So what is it about Michael Dearth & Ben Bayley’s new venture that has made it such a hit? Is it the concept? “Food for the people” with meticulous attention to detail in the fit out (personally designed wallpaper? tiles imported from Sicily? a french stained glass window… Really?), is it the location on the busy and booming Wynyard Quarter, with windows designed to catch full sun and ample outdoor seating? Is it the convenience with affordable dishes, long opening hours, and family-friendly kids menus that come with games? Or is it simply excellent execution with exquisite cuisine (exquisine?) doing traditional “peasant” dishes exceedingly well, with attentive service?

Baduzzi Spring Asparagus Risotto

The answer of course is all of the above. When I visited, tables in the sun attracted the crowds spilling immaculately out of Fashion Week at the Events Centre and serious looking suits popped in for a break and a bite. The restaurant was pumping and both Michael and Ben both worked the floor, taking time to chat to each customer. 

Michael’s passion for this restaurant is summed up by his words on the restaurant’s facebook site:

Words to my unborn restaurant. (Almost finished)

Early Rome & the greater Roman Empire. 
Emperors came & went. 
Men & women loved & died.
But the FOOD…-
It’s traditions & recipes stand the test of time. 
It’s embrace reaching the cradle of early man. 
Passed on
From mouth to ear
& reborn again… 

The birth of Baduzzi –
is in a way for me to deal with loss & still hold onto my concept of family. 
The birth of this restaurant is all of me…
The dark corners that are also held tightly by the bond of laughter-
Long dinners…
Great food & 
The deep
Unshakable 
Knowing of
Belonging 
-mpd

The concept and details of the fit out have been well documented (that wallpaper!!!), as has the standard of the cuisine. On my visit I ordered the Spring Asparagus Risotto which was absolutely delicious with the first bite an explosion of flavours. Savoury parmesan balanced perfectly with sweeter flavours of mint and peas. The yolk mousse had an amazing delicate foamy texture yet a persistent taste. The wine list organised by price, and a mix of Italian and NZ wines is great for the connoisseur and amateur alike.

I would highly recommend Baduzzi. Michael and the team have made the leap from the world of fine dining to casual brasserie style of Baduzzi without batting an eye.