Further building on its reputation as Christchurch's leading luxury resort, Outrigger at Clearwater Resort's elegant Lakes Restaurant was a winner at the 2005 New Zealand Restaurant of the Year competition held in Auckland last month.

Winning two gold medals for both food and service, the Lakes Restaurant at Outrigger was one of nine top New Zealand restaurants to be selected by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand to compete in the "mystery box main and dessert" competition.

Each competing team was presented with a "mystery" box of unknown ingredients and then had 4 hours to plan, prepare and cook a meal to serve to six guests. A total of ten meals needed to be prepared including one for display, two for the kitchen judges and one meal for the restaurant judges.

The award-winning team were executive chef Michael Maguire, food & beverage manager Christian Pulley, wait staff Rachel Baur and sous chef Simon Kirkpatrick.

Together they faultlessly prepared a three-course meal which included Ricotta & Herb Bread matched with The Lakes style Mojito Spritz, Pan Seared Kaimoana, which is fresh New Zealand seafood in a spiced boullion, matched with a Framingham 2004 Marlborough Gewurztraminer, and finished with a Warm Chocolate Pudding with Poached Vanilla Rhubarb & Mascarpone Date and Raisin Sorbet matched with a Morris Liqueur Muscat.

Teams were judged in three different disciplines: matching food and wine; chefs were judged on speed, cleanliness in the kitchen; restaurant service was judged on restaurant preparation, table setting, polishing, interaction with guests, technical competence and ability to speak on food and wine match.

Outrigger at Clearwater General Manager Robert Kenny praised the leadership of the executive chef Michael Maguire and congratulated the dedication and professionalism of each individual team member.

"We are extremely proud of our restaurant team who went up against tough competition in Auckland and returned with two gold medals! This is a tremendous boost for Outrigger but also a great success for Christchurch," he said.

"Outrigger at Clearwater Resort has been in operation a little over a year and this award has already set the high standards for years to come," he said.

Located just 15-minutes from Christchurch's CBD and situated within a stunning new waterfront residential, golf, and resort community, the Lakes Restaurant offers contemporary fine dining with lakeside views.

To make a booking at the award-winning Lakes Restaurant or for more information on Outrigger at Clearwater Resort visit http://www.clearwaternz.com/