Photo Credit: Tom Allan

Hands Down

Photo Credit Tom Allan

Brad Minton, Will Innes and Henry Lyons are the trio behind Fokl, a multi-disciplinary research consultancy based in Napier, and along with John Chisolm up in Auckland, they’ve cooked up Hands Down – an authentic corn tortilla factory tucked in behind Mr D and Monica Loves in central Napier. 

The tortillas are delicious for a start, and they’re made traditionally, with a Mesoamerican technique known as nixtamalization. Basically, the corn kernels (in this case, from up the road in Gisborne, and as close to certified organic as you can find in NZ right now) are soaked in limewater and this makes the corn super digestible and nutritional. The slate lime used comes locally from Websters Lime and the small Hands Down team do the rest. 

You’ll find the tortillas at Hermana and Vagabond Jack foodtrucks, up at Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel, and hyper-locally at Hapi, Hunger Monger and Monica Loves. 

It was Brad’s tortilla obsession, having lived in the States that kicked this off. He experienced the revitalisation of craft tortillas in Mexico and the US and is keen to see the humble staple become an everyday food here in Aotearoa. Brad’s current favourite: a hot tortilla dressed with an egg from his own chooks, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes – what a breakfast!


The latest addition to the Joll Road precinct in Havelock North (joining Alessandro’s and Piku) is Mary’s. Named for Mary Peabody of Craggy Range, the new eatery is a neighbourhood restaurant serving chef Casey McDonald’s fun, creative fare and Craggy Range’s wines right in the village. The locals will be delighted that Mary’s is open seven days! From midday till late.

Brewers move

Coming next to the village is a new set-up for Giant Brewing Co. They’ll be moving from Donnelly Street and taking up residence in Treacher Lane (what was Subway), offering their beloved beers plus top nosh from early in 2021.

Brave Brewing Co have made the big move into the Tribune precinct in Hastings, marking phase one of the new development. The new taproom/eatery is beautiful! And the “Fancy” Southern Fried Chicken (with Kewpie and caviar) so, so good. They’re open seven days too!

Keep an eye out for OMG Bread, joining the Tribune in phase two.


Meander out of Havelock on Te Mata Road and you’ll find Wayne and Judy Bradshaw’s new artisan venture. Bradshaws offers coffee, plus a delicious and healthy range of real fruit and coconut-based ice blocks and also fruit juices sourced from orchards behind the shop. All products are reduced sugar, gluten-free and dairy free.

Waipawa Butchery

At three years-old Waipawa Butchery is not a baby, but it has been growing. The addition of a Havelock North butchery after the flagship store in CHB is making those amazing sausages, steaks and meaty treats more easily available to the village people. 

The beef and lamb – from Duncan and Annabel Smith’s Patangata Station – is remarkable for its quality and the short distances it travels to market – just 15km to the Waipawa outlet and 35km to Havelock North. The ultimate star of the ultimate Hawke’s Bay BBQ this summer.

The Limery

Wairoa is offering up the sour goods. Just at the mouth of the Wairoa River, The Limery sits on four hectares growing 4,000 lime trees, supplying the zesty little treasures (and juice) to bars, restaurants and supermarkets. The Limery boasts full traceability, no pesticides and just the stuff for your summer Ceviche!

Photo Credit Tom Allan

Pintxo Charcuterie 

Francis de Jager is a stalwart of the Hawke’s Bay hospo scene, having run the events and cellar door show at Black Barn for many years. He and his Basque wife Eneritz are now bringing some of the magic of her homeland to New Zealand with Pintxo Charcuterie. 

Francis says it takes salt, meat, love and time to make good chorizo, so they keep it simple and traditional, offering cured chorizo, cured saucisson (a nod to the French), fresh chorizo meatballs and burgers, all handcrafted and just containing 100% Certified Free-Range New Zealand Pork, sea salt, Marlborough garlic and freshly ground spices. 

Pintxo products find their way to Auckland and Wellington, and locally you can find them at Ya Bon, Black Barn, Gourmet Direct, Chantal and Hohepa. Speaking of …

Hohepa Hawke’s Bay 

They’ve brought back a classic! Glass bottles are now the go, with all milk at their farmers market stall or the Clive-based store now sold in one-litre glass bottles. They’re looking at the packaging for the rest of their products next, but in the meantime, we all get to enjoy the old school charm of the glass bottles, which somehow make the milk taste better. Return your empty bottles, and they’ll be sterilised and put back into circulation.

Benny Fernandez

Keep your eyes and ears out for pop-up offerings coming over summer to Benny’s two coffee locations. Miyuki from Asian Diner will be offering her tantalising treats at Sparrows in Onekawa from time to time. In town, Georgia on Tennyson plays occasional host to Bodega Cats – subs and sorbets! 

Ash and Connor – the talents behind Bodega Cats – are also popping-up about the place with Restaurant Ruth. Chase them up on Instagram to hear where, when and what. 

Best Burger 

Is on its way! A collab between James from Bistronomy, Vinci from Vinci’s, Jamie from F45 and Simon who used to run Burger Fuel, this set-up is going to teach us what a truly great burger is. Keep an eye out for the small but perfectly-formed menu, based on solid, local ingredients. You’ll find Best Burger on that shopping part of Middle Road in Havelock North, near Gilmore’s and Bay Espresso.


Are quietly taking over. Bagel Merchants have been making Sunday mornings better for a while now, offering weekly home deliveries – a highlight of the weekend! Their New York-style artisan bagels are dense and chewy, and the blueberry ones are perfect with lemon curd, just saying.

And now there is Bayside Bagels too! Keep an eye out for the lads working out of a container set-up in Common Room’s spacious and sunny new garden bar area. And as with all things cool and bagel-ish, best bet is to follow them on Instagram.

Hastings East

The Heretaunga East 200s just keep getting better and more fun. You need a night out exploring the block. The new garden at Common Room is perfect for easy afternoon brews, often with live music and lively locals. Then there’s the sophisticated cool of Hastings Distillers on the corner, where gin is the thing. Pop over for some street-style food (think bao buns, dumplings, Peking chicken pancakes…) and seriously good cocktails at Fun Buns, or go all Italian at Sazio. The pasta is authentic and delicious and you leave almost ready to burst, but so, so tummy-happy.

Speaking of gin – have you noticed it’s everywhere? And being taking pretty seriously too. Apart from the line-up at Hastings Distillers, we’re also loving the collection now on offer at Pipi Café in Havelock North. Gin and Pizza, now that sounds like summer.

Know a new foodie spot we haven’t heard of … let BayBuzz know!

And food stuff you can’t eat

FoodEAST, the new $18 million Food Innovation Hub will be ready for action in Hastings by 2022. Situated at the Tomoana Food Hub in Elwood Road, FoodEAST will offer Hawke’s Bay food innovators access to expertise to help them commercialise new food, beverage and agri-tech products. 

The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) at EIT is one of a number of CoVEs being developed through the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE). Our CoVE will work closely with Workforce Development Councils, Regional Skills Leadership Groups, the new national institute Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology and other CoVEs to develop the skilled workers required by HB’s primary sector.

While the Food and Fibre CoVE is based at EIT, the initiative has been set up by an industry-led consortium, involving 54 organisations across the entire food and fibre sector including industry associations, tertiary education providers, Māori, employers, employees, and standard setting bodies. Dr Mark Paine has recently been appointed as new chair. He has a background in both horticulture and dairy, has held academic roles and was a member of the Primary Sector Council.


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