A couple of seasoned New Plymouth restaurateurs are serving up the third instalment in their collection of eateries and this one has an oriental flavour.
Mark Louis and business partner Ajinkya Jagdale have spent the past two months working on a new venture that will open next week on Oakura’s main street.
The Asian fusion restaurant, named Peeking Panda, is the third business the men have opened together since launching The Hour Glass in 2013, and two years ago opening Polpetta.
The pair have again teamed up with Erua Stockman, co-owner and head chef at Polpetta, and his partner Michelle Hartley, chef at The Hour Glass, who have both come on board as business partners.
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While they weren’t actively looking for a spot to launch a new restaurant, Jagdale said when the former digs of cafe Kin & Co became available they jumped.
“This was on sale and we always liked the area so when the opportunity came we took it,” he said.
The businessmen, whose restaurant Polpetta boasted a meatball theme, both had a love for Asian cuisine and had spoken about one day launching an eatery dedicated to the dishes.
The menu would feature a range of Oriental styled food including Jagdale’s favourite, steamed buns.
Much like their other restaurants, the Oakura establishment was small in size but the team reckoned it would pack a punch.
Jagdale said it had already sparked interest in the seaside town and he believed it would fare well with the community.
“We’ve got comments from people coming through and they’re all really excited,” he said.
The men agreed the secret to their success was good hospitality and any punters through the doors could expect impeccable customer service.
“When the venue’s small we can better focus on everybody,” Jagdale said.
The food bar’s name was the brainchild of Louis, who also co-owned New Plymouth bar Our Place.
He reckoned it was toss-around with words related to the culture and eventually he whittled it down to Peeking Duck and then Peeking Panda.
They wanted it to sound quirky while still family orientated and, what is more, panda’s were “cute and cuddly”, Jagdale pointed out.