10 reasons to visit New Plymouth if you’re into food and design

26 February 2020

These 10 excellent offerings of art and food will give you every reason to visit the wonderful city of New Plymouth. Check them out below

Four years after the opening of the combined Govett-Brewster Art Gallery & Len Lye Centre, the spectacular stainless-steel addition by Patterson Architects, the downtown West End Precinct is buzzing. It’s the perfect weekend getaway – you won’t even need a car.

1. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery & Len Lye Centre

With all the carry-on about Len Lye and the extension, it can be easy to forget that the gallery, founded in 1970 with a bequest from Monica Brewster, has a wonderful collection of its own. Brewster’s bequest stipulated that the money be spent on collecting contemporary art from New Zealand and the Pacific, and the collection has, through multiple directors, grown to include some fascinating, if idiosyncratic, works by important artists. You can see this in The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong, which is curated by the Walters Prize-winning artist Ruth Buchanan.A


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2. Monica’s Eatery

Next door, Monica’s may be the best gallery restaurant in the country. It’s an airy space with timber touches and a soaring ceiling. The menu is fresh and interesting – we enjoyed the kedgeree, and the chicken niçoise, with a glass of pinot blanc.


3. Coastal Walkway & Public Art

The Coastal Walkway runs from New Plymouth’s port to Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, with 13-odd kilometres dotted with public art. Most impressive is ‘Big Wave Territory’ by John Reynolds, which sits at the port end and riffs on road signs.


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4. White Hart Hotel

Wellington architects Bonnifait + Giesen oversaw the refurbishment of this 1886 pearler. They preserved the façade but filled the unused centre of the building with a covered courtyard featuring concrete, steel and timber. Here, Snug Lounge is a Japanese cocktail bar, also designed by Bonnifait + Giesen. Ms White is a bare-knuckle pizza and beer garden in the courtyard, serving perfectly crisp wood-fired pizza. Public is a subterranean bakery and cafe, which makes an excellent doughnuts, and Itch is a sophisticated wine bar that makes a terrific cocktail.

snuglounge.co.nz | mswhite.co.nz | itchwinebar.co.nz

5. King & Queen Hotel

Next door to the White Hart, the King & Queen Hotel features raw concrete and high ceilings in moody rooms. We like it very much, not least for the fact that you can charge almost every restaurant in the city back to your room.



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6. Billow

Billow is down a small alley off the main street in a container mall repurposed from Christchurch, with sourdough that’s baked to dense and crunchy perfection; the cardamom rolls make an excellent start to the day.


7. Social Kitchen

You’ll find Social Kitchen in a repurposed Salvation Army building, a short walk from the West End Precinct, with a gritty industrial edge – think recycled light fittings and taxidermy. Shared plates and a casual vibe are the go here.



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8. Juno Gin

Though the distillery is located in an industrial park – open by appointment – you should keep an eye out for locally made Juno gin when ordering a drink. Juno has a sharp bottle design, limited-edition seasonal releases, with local botanicals used where possible.



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9. Meat & Liquor

A restaurant that does what it says: top-notch New Zealand steak and excellent cocktails, served in a space that feels a little like a speakeasy. The service is excellent, as is the steak.



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10. Ozone

Ozone coffee started here before expanding to London and Auckland. They are located in a former workshop with lofty ceilings. Stop in for excellent filter coffee and Public baking.


Words by: Simon Farrell-Green. Photography by: Patrick Reynolds; Strategy Collective; Sam Hartnett.

This article was first published in HOME New Zealand. Follow HOME on Instagram, Facebook and sign up to the monthly email for more great architecture.

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