Nic Watt and Darren Johnson.

Acclaimed restaurateur Nic Watt, together with culinary director chef Darren Johnson have announced their first joint venture Inca, a Peruvian-style eatery, will open at Scentre Group’s $790 million flagship living centre Westfield Newmarket later this year.

Joining the centre’s rooftop dining, lifestyle and entertainment precinct, the pair – who between them have worked at revered restaurants including Nobu and Roka in London, Tokyo’s Park Hyatt, and Huka Lodge and MASU by Nic Watt in NZ – will create a smart casual, South American eatery.

“I first discovered the delights of Peruvian food in 2012, when I went to Peru to study ceviche and antichuchos and I fell in love with the cuisine back then and always had a vision to do something,” explains Inca co-founder and owner Nic Watt.

“There’s a huge Asian influence on food in Peru due to the large Chinese and Japanese immigration. Inca will be about those Latin American-meets-Asian flavours.”

Diners can expect ceviche and Peru’s most popular street food, antichuchos – marinated and barbecued meat – served sizzling from the woodfire. Originally peasant food dating back to the time of the Conquistadors in the Americas in the 16th century, they’ll be cooked at Inca over manuka and coffee charcoal in the two-metre wood-fire hearth.

Authentic gluten-free soft tacos will be made from an imported taco press. Ice-cream aficionados will appreciate a variety of soft-serve options such as salted caramel and churros with cacao soft-serve.

The interior of Inca’s 181sqm premium dining space was inspired by the striking terracottas, pinks and greens of Peru’s Rainbow Mountain. This will be reflected in honest, noble materials such as rammed earth walls, wooden tables and stone flooring. The restaurant will seat 110 diners both inside and out and open from lunch through to dinner.

“Westfield Newmarket will change the marketplace across New Zealand. It will provide a truly high-calibre experience and attract customers from across the country who want to shop, dine and be entertained. Naturally we want to be part of that by bringing a smart-casual, super-tasty dining offer to the table,” he said.

Scentre Group Director Leasing and Retail Solutions and NZ Development, John Papagiannis said: “What we are delivering at Westfield Newmarket is a new benchmark in lifestyle, dining and entertainment.

“Nic Watt and Darren Johnson are synonymous with New Zealand’s burgeoning food scene and two of the best chefs in the country. We’re thrilled to be welcoming Inca to Westfield Newmarket in what will be a must-try experience for our customers,” he said.

Inca is the third retailer to be joining New Zealand’s first rooftop dining, lifestyle and entertainment precinct Rooftop on Broadway, in addition to previously announced White + Wong’s & Sardine Cocktail Bar and Something & Social. Rooftop on Broadway will become a gathering place for the community, offering ten new restaurants and ‘always on’ entertainment with outstanding views of Auckland city.

Due to open in multiple stages later this year, Westfield Newmarket will feature more than 200 stores over five levels, including Auckland’s first David Jones.

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