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Small town cuisine shines in Menulog's Restaurant Awards in New Zealand

Manager - Jaskaranvir Singh

Online food delivery service Menulog NZ has revealed New Zealand’s most popular restaurants in its biannual Restaurant Awards.

The spread of winners in the summer round of the awards highlights the continued popularity of traditional takeaways such as Indian and pizza, with restaurants in small towns taking top honours.

The India Restaurant & Bar in the northern Waikato town of Tuakau took out top spot, winning the overall National Award.

The restaurant has developed an outstanding reputation with locals and visitors alike for its delicious curries, including signature dish, The India - a Lamb Special Curry , and fantastic service.

More than 900 restaurants on the Menulog platform are judged based on performance, popularity, and order numbers over the past six months for the Summer Restaurant Awards.

Other small-town restaurants to win awards included Castle 91 in Otorohanga (Waikato region winner), Gisborne’s Bollywood Stars Tandoori Restaurant (East Coast winner), and Lake Pizza in Pegasus (north of Christchurch) was one of the top Canterbury restaurants.

Menulog’s Commercial Director, Rory Murphy, says this summer’s awards lists showcases how great food is available across New Zealand.

“The Menulog Restaurant Awards are designed to recognise and reward the hard work of our restaurant partners, particularly those that deliver an exceptional customer experience. The India Restaurant & Bar was up against more than 900 other restaurants, many of them based in the main centres, and it took out the top prize because of its all-round excellence – from their food and customer service, right through to the important part they play in the Tuakau community and its local economy.”

Owner Mukesh Sharma says building a good reputation for your food and service is vital in a small community.

“It’s also an honour to share our passion for authentic Indian food with the people of the greater Tuakau area. We love the food we cook, and we like to think that comes through in every dish we make.”

He says their formula to guarantee loyalty from their customers is to serve delicious food, but also to keep customers updated on what stage their order is at and to ensure food is piping hot when it is delivered.

“Menulog has completely changed our business with 40% of our orders coming from online orders which has helped us to build a better relationship with our customers with reviews about what they enjoy from our restaurant. A delivery platform like Menulog also works especially well during the winter months and quieter times of the year because they send out emails and alerts to customers with special offers and that sort of thing helps drive orders.”

Murphy says restaurants and eateries in more remote areas are rivalling restaurants in city centres in terms of order numbers and service.

“Restaurants from smaller NZ communities benefit hugely from our online ordering and delivery platform, making them more discoverable and easily accessible to a variety of customers.”

As part of the awards series, Menulog recognises restaurants in four categories. In addition to the National Winner, Menulog awards cuisine category winners as well as regional winners.

The winners in the best cuisine categories for this season are:

  • Best Seafood – Ming Du Chinese Takeaways, Wellington. Dish: Battered fish
  • Best Vegetarian – Beach Pizza, Beachlands. Dish: Vegetable Super Pizza
  • Best use of Kumara – Taste of Tandoor, Dunedin. Dish: Kumara Madras
  • Best Lamb – Bolliwood Xpress, Blockhouse Bay. Dish: Butter Lamb
  • Best Dumplings – East Noodle Bar, Ponsonby. Dish: Dim Sum

For the full list of winners, including all local wins, visit

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