Critically acclaimed Chef Nic Watt, in collaboration with MASU former executive chef Darren Johnson, is drawing inspiration from South American street food and East Asian cuisine with his latest venture, INCA.
A collision of international fare, INCA is among the first restaurants to open at Westfield Newmarket’s new development on Broadway, as part of the rooftop dining, lifestyle and entertainment precinct.
INCA is inspired by Nic Watt’s travels to Peru where he studied the art of Nikkei cuisine, specifically looking at the influence of Japanese pioneers migrating to Peru at the end of the 19th century. Peru’s culinary tradition is a smorgasbord of the various cultural influences which have swept over the South American country and the combination of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine known as Nikkei has become the latest gastronomic sensation.
The roots of this cultural cuisine fusion lie in the significance that both traditions give to fresh fish, which is something Nic wanted to ensure was reflected in the INCA menu.
With an impressive 2-metre hearth taking centre stage in the restaurant, diners can expect a blend of wood-fired, street-style food including not only fresh seafood dishes like ceviche but also soft shells tacos, anticuchos, empanadas and even churros served with cacao soft serve for dessert.
“It is important to me to create dishes that invoke memories,” says Nic Watt.
“When someone eats one of our dishes it should ignite a food memory for them, a moment of recollection or familiarity that makes them feel special. This is what I experience each time I bite into a Humita – seriously delicious steamed corn parcels – the taste takes me back to walking through the street vendors in Peru.”
The entirety of INCA, from the menu to the design and fit out, is inspired by the impressive natural landscapes of South America, featuring striking terracottas, pinks and greens reflected in Peru’s Rainbow Mountain. The restaurant will provide a backdrop for the cuisine to be the hero, with the warmth of the woodfire oven and the smell of the embers engaging all the senses.
The general look and feel of INCA will be tactile and timeless, with the freedom and flamboyance of Latin America reflected in all elements. The design will feature a ceviche bar, fresh taco press, and open antichucho bar.
“Darren and I are excited to have the opportunity to showcase a new cuisine that’s energetic, vibrant and packed with attitude; with fresh produce served the only way it should be – as the hero on the plate,” says Watt.
Open from lunch through to dinner, the eatery can seat 110 diners at both indoor and outdoor tables with a menu that showcases a blend of Latin America and Asia.
Due to open in multiple stages later this year, Westfield Newmarket will feature more than 200 stores over five levels. INCA will join the rooftop dining precinct which will become a gathering place for the community, offering ten new restaurants, entertainment and outstanding views of Auckland city.