Wānaka’s newest restaurant Arc blends innovative breakfast and brunch menus with late-night cocktails and tapas in one stylish, intimate venue on Ardmore Street. The restaurant is the brainchild of chefs James Stapley and Sam Cooper and QT Magazine spoke to James about the venture.
Can you describe the experience you are achieving with Arc?
Sam and I had the idea to open a breakfast place a few years ago and we wanted something that was different from the norm.
Using our experience as chefs, we worked closely with local craftsmen to create a unique space. We wanted a natural feel to bring some of our amazing garden space into the restaurant – all the timber used is recycled native rimu and the interior is decorated with dried Otago wildflowers.
Our daytime dining is brunch with artisan coffee and breakfast cocktails, with tapas served in the evenings. We are bar-focused and have an amazing cocktail and wine list. The idea is for customers to get about three plates each to share while working their way through the carefully curated drinks list.
The breakfast-brunch menu is super innovative. Was this a particular goal for you?
Yes. There are lots of amazing breakfast places in Wānaka and we love what they are doing. Our take on breakfast was to give the same thought and structure to the dishes as we would an evening menu, something that would excite us and would offer a different experience for customers. I think we have managed to hit the mark.
What are your favourites on the menu?
We are loving the crayfish benedict with a charcoal bun and aerated hollandaise and tarragon powder. Our take on Turkish eggs is well worth trying.
In the evening we have many compliments on the lamb carpaccio that has Middle Eastern flavours infused in Nadia Lim’s Royal Burn lamb.
What is the feedback from diners so far?
The feedback is very positive as people are enjoying a whole new food experience. The menu for breakfast and dinner is eclectic so we encourage diners to come out of their comfort zone and try something different.
Can you tell us about the Arc team?
We were lucky to gather such a well experienced and talented team to help us achieve Arc. Melissa Santucho, who was previously general manager at Kika is heading up our front of house team and ensures the service is very professional yet still fun and relaxed – not at all stuffy.
Sam and I are the executive chefs and owners of Arc and we work together writing the menus and developing the dishes with head chef Nico Bousquets. Sarah Scott is our bar manager – she used her years of experience to design our signature cocktails and she also oversaw the design of our custom bar. Try one of her cocktails, you won’t be disappointed.