New tapas eatery ‘high-energy casual restaurant’

A Dunedin restaurateur opening his fifth central city business says locals are "dying for something new".

Stuart St tapas restaurant and cocktail bar Graze and Glow, a new eatery housed in the former Nando’s premises, had its opening night yesterday.

Owner Andre Shi — who also owns Vault 21, Prohibition Smokehouse, Catacombs Nightclub and Deja Vu — said Graze and Glow was a "high-energy casual restaurant" that catered to customers slightly later in the evening.

The restaurant ran a trial session last Saturday and invited students, who uploaded their experiences to TikTok, which were seen by a lot of people, he said.

Come yesterday evening, Mr Shi said reservations were full and the restaurant was expecting to host about 100 people.

"I think Dunedin locals were dying for something new," he said.

The tapas menu featured about 20 items from around the world — including Italian, Spanish and Mexican dishes — served on small plates in a sharing style, as well as a cocktail and drinks menu.

"And the selling point is everything is $9."

Graze and Glow owner Andre Shi awaits customers on the opening night of his new restaurant, in...
Graze and Glow owner Andre Shi awaits customers on the opening night of his new restaurant, in Stuart St. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Mr Shi said items at a normal restaurant would usually range from just under $20 to about $40, and he had observed at his other businesses that customers were spending slightly less amid the current economic climate.

But with a $9 price point, the items on the menu came in slightly smaller portions so customers could try out a variety of different flavours.

He had wanted to make a restaurant that was both more accessible and enjoyable, and anything priced under $10 was a lot more appealing, he said.

The menu was designed by local chef Greg Piner, who had worked with him across his three other restaurants since 2016, Mr Shi said.

The restaurant also featured a fully QR-code ordering system, he said.

No-one else in the city could offer a price point of $9 on every item, Mr Shi said.

He hoped it would make people much more relaxed about ordering whatever food they liked, as they would not lose too much if it turned out they did not like it.