When travelling to Hawke’s Bay, you expect and anticipate to spend the weekend indulging in some of the many fruits that make the region famous. Whether it’s the internationally renowned wines, or the more subtle flavours of fruit, there’s undoubtedly something fresh to be enjoyed. What you might not expect is some of the country’s best Italian dishes tucked away in Hastings.
On a late-summer road trip to the Bay, there were many things on my to-do list. Wineries, brunches, a music festival, and trying a restaurant that a friend had recommended.
Authentic Mediterranean food is in part timeless, but also really having its moment right now in the nation’s dining scene. As an ardent pasta lover it warms my heart to see it embraced around the country.
Sazio, translating to “full” and “satisfied”, embraces the idea of fullness and makes sure you know that from the outset. Printed on the menu you’ll find the following testament to good food: “At Sazio, we believe the key to a good life is found in something pretty simple: fullness. A full plate + a full glass + a full heart = a full life. Eat with the people you love. Eat well. Eat often. Eat pasta.”
* Lantern Pāpāmoa: The best thing I’ve eaten in New Zealand – and I was prepared to hate it
* No matter the meal, Eastern Bay of Plenty has you covered
* Fun dining: A visit to Central Otago’s fancy family-friendly restaurant
So that’s exactly what I did. And if there’s one dish to fill up on, it’s the tagliatelle with lamb ragu. There’s something so delightful about a simple pasta done really well, and this dish is exactly like that.
Chef Daniel Pistone, of Argentinian and Italian descent, is the brains behind Sazio’s kitchen, and with his business partner Laura in front-of-house, the restaurant is both comforting and inspired. The pasta is freshly made every day and cooked to order for the table, with the intention of sharing the experience of the pasta that their grandmothers made by hand for them.
At Sazio, pasta is celebrated as an “art of the heart”, and the owners, who now call Hawke’s Bay home, felt that it needed to be recognised here too.
Ever since I began to watch the Internet sensation, Pasta Grannies, I’ve had an immense appreciation for the labour and love that goes into my favourite carb. With Sazio’s lamb ragu tagliatelle, it is translated directly onto the plate.
Using locally sourced organic ingredients, the lamb is tender and the pasta even more so. It all comes together in a rich sauce that is reminiscent of home comforts, but at the same time transports your taste buds to a summer in the Mediterranean.
And while my fleeting holiday in Hawke’s Bay didn’t exactly taste like the wine and cheese boards we had in mind, the dining experience at Sazio, from start to finish, felt just like a holiday to me.
Where to eat: Find Sazio at 215 Heretaunga Street East, Hastings. It’s open Wednesday to Saturday. Pasta ranges from $25-30 per dish. See: sazio.co.nz
Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Face coverings are mandatory on all flights and public transport. Proof of vaccination and vaccine exemption may be required in some venues under the traffic light system. Follow the instructions at covid19.govt.nz.