Love your local: tapas with a view in Rotorua’s new restaurant

0

Windows played a key role in the story of the creation of Poco Tapas and Wine in Rotorua.

It was the view through the windows that convinced Jeff Slessor and Catherine Rose that the “junkyard” they found themselves in had the potential to be transformed into a space that would match their vision of a tapas place and wines.

It’s also the window through which their budget has been projected, thanks to construction consent delays, the Delta outbreak, and the skyrocketing price of “everything.”

Jeff Slessor and Catherine Rose, owners of Poco Tapas and Wine.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Jeff Slessor and Catherine Rose, owners of Poco Tapas and Wine.

It’s a good job Rose describes herself as a “glass half full person”.

READ MORE:
* Eat your way across the country this fall
* Hospo in the time of Omicron: how you can help restaurants with dwindling customer numbers and staff isolation
* New Invercargill brewery born out of lockdown hobby

“We know we’re on to something, but it’s tough,” she said.

The couple, Canadian chef Slessor and Kiwi Rose, met in Rotorua after Slessor moved to the city after quitting his job at Mt Ruapehu Castle, and Rose moved on from corporate life, London and Auckland.

A ‘surprise’ girl kept the couple in Rotorua where, thanks to Slessor’s passion for cooking, the choice soon became clear whether to get out of the hospo, or find something else, ‘whatever’.

“Or are we doing something on our own,” Rose said.

A food truck was an option for a while, as was the use of shipping containers, an idea that was quickly abandoned. “But it got us to a tapas and wine bar, that might be a good idea.”

It also stemmed in part from Rose’s dining experiences in Auckland and London, and tapas being a missing ingredient in Rotorua’s hospitality scene.

Jeff Slessor and Catherine Rose of Pocos Tapas said their <a class=restaurant was “just a shell” when they identified the space as the perfect fit for their vision.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Tom Lee / Stuff

Jeff Slessor and Catherine Rose of Pocos Tapas said their restaurant was “just a shell” when they identified the space as the perfect fit for their vision.

Based a short walk from Rotorua’s Eat St restaurant district, the couple have created a light, airy yet intimate space. Looking at the immaculately presented space, it’s hard to believe the couple’s description of what they walked into in April of last year.

“There was only one shell,” Slessor said. “We had to put everything on. It was the windows. The rest was a dump.

Poco Tapas Kawakawa Marinated Wings Warehou.  Chef Jeff Slessor said the tapas appealed to his creative side and his desire to create

Provided

Poco Tapas Kawakawa Marinated Wings Warehou. Chef Jeff Slessor said the tapas appealed to his creative side and his desire to create “simple, clean plates”.

Slessor was also drawn to the type of cooking he would do. “I’m not a delicate chef, just clean and simple plates. Let the flavors and the food speak for themselves,” he said.

From that April viewing to opening on February 3 this year, it’s been a long road for the couple.

“The resource consent was fine because we’re in the commercial area, but because we were setting up a commercial kitchen and starting from scratch, all the building consents took forever,” Rose said.

Then the Delta variant and another lock hit. “It delayed things. Delay after delay

Pocos Tapas Chorizo ​​a la Sidra.

Provided

Pocos Tapas Chorizo ​​a la Sidra.

Somehow though, Covid-19 played into their plans. “It actually worked in our favor. We still wanted something small. This is our first company, smaller, more intimate.

The pair also admit money was another factor that kept them from hooking up. “We’re so far now,” Rose said. “If we had known the pandemic was going to last this long, and God knows how long, and that our budget would be completely blown, wiped out, we probably wouldn’t have done it.”

“We are here now, we love our restaurant, we have faith.”

Poco Wine and Tapas is located at 1183 Arawa St. Hours of operation and menus can be found on their website.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.