Take a perfect summer day, add eight top restaurants, mix in more than 400 people and line them up — for the first time, entirely under cover — along New Zealand’s most beautiful street in the country’s most beautiful small town, and you are guaranteed a good time.
So it was in Arrowtown yesterday when the hugely popular "Long Table" — rebranded from the Long Lunch — made its long-awaited return to Buckingham St.
The 12th annual event was cancelled last year due to the Covid-induced staffing shortage, which hit the village’s hospitality sector in particular.
Participating restaurants yesterday were Provisions, The Fork and Tap, Postmasters, La Rumbla, Slow Cuts, New Orleans, Kobe and Aosta, while key sponsor, Gibbston vineyard Kinross, also provided a huge amount of support — and wine.
Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association chairman Benje Patterson said the decision to erect a marquee cover along the length of Buckingham St was a "big investment", but a worthwhile one.
A couple of years ago the event was essentially rained out, while in other years diners had braved the beating sun, attempting to avoid sunburn, all afternoon.
"That was quite the ask — it’s amazing we’ve been able to pull that side of things off."
It was also an amazing way to showcase a side of Arrowtown visitors from across the country and the world may not otherwise see.
"Arrowtown’s recently been re-awarded New Zealand’s most beautiful small town and New Zealand’s most beautiful street.
"To have a celebration like this on the street that brings together the community and enables us to showcase our culinary delights to the rest of New Zealand is wonderful.
It gave visitors "a window into the New Zealand way of life".