kingi, the Britomart restaurant with a focus on sustainable seafood and the best fresh New Zealand produce, is celebrating the new year with a two-hat rating and the expansion of its expert culinary team.

Last night, kingi, at The Hotel Britomart was awarded Best Hotel Restaurant in New Zealand’s Cuisine Good Food Awards, as well as gaining a coveted two-hat rating with an overall score of 17/20.

“It’s great to have a high-quality seafood restaurant in the heart of old Auckland that walks the talk without compromise when it comes to sustainability and ethical fishing,” the award’s judges noted in their citation.

Co-founder Tom Hishon (centre) is now working with kingi’s new Chef de Cuisine, Uelese Mua (right), to deliver kingi’s unique all-day offerings. Tom continues to drive the creative direction and menu concepts for the restaurant, with Uelese executing that vision for the restaurant each day.

Uelese’s arrival coincides with the hiring of Andrew Lautenbach, the new Head Chef for The Hotel Britomart, part of the Collection by TFE Hotels, who is responsible for overseeing the hotel’s overall food offerings including The Libraries, the private function spaces in the heritage Masonic Building above kingi that are also part of The Hotel Britomart.

“Now that kingi is a year old, it’s really exciting that we’re able to expand the team and refresh our offerings,” says the restaurant’s co-founder, Tom Hishon. “As well as welcoming Andrew and Uelese on board and winning Best Hotel Restaurant in the Cuisine Good Food Awards, we have a new glass roof on our laneway dining space and fresh seating arrangements in the restaurant – all of which means we have great experiences to offer our guests in 2022.”

Andrew Lautenbach is originally from Hamilton and spent the early part of his career working in the French Alps before returning to Auckland, where he has worked at O’Connell Street Bistro and Hallertau in Riverhead. Classically trained in French cuisine, Andrew has developed his own personal cooking style focused on local and seasonal produce with an uncomplicated and fresh approach.

“I am looking forward to working with the team at The Hotel Britomart as we have the same goals and ethos regarding sustainability and a positive team environment. Creativity is important and working alongside Tom and Uelese at kingi will only make the brand stronger,” Andrew says.

Uelese brings a wealth of experience to his new role, including leadership at several high-end Auckland restaurants – including Euro and Soul – and a six-year stint in France in kitchens in Paris and Marseille. Uelese has Samoan heritage and enjoys bringing Pacific flavours to his cooking.

“I am thrilled to be working at kingi and being able to focus on cooking with sustainably caught fish – and honouring it by reducing food wastage and utilising the entire product,” Uelese says.

“We’re delighted about having Andrew’s experience and expert eye overseeing The Hotel Britomart’s culinary offerings, especially in The Libraries, our exceptional suite of private dining and private function spaces,” says Clinton Farley, General Manager of The Hotel Britomart. “With Andrew and Uelese joining the team, we are extremely excited about the continued evolution of our Food and Beverage offering in the year ahead.”

kingi is open seven days for all-day service including dinner, inviting guests to experience the best of local seafood and produce. Aperitivo Hour offers specialty drinks, wine and beers and flat breads from the woodfire oven, daily between 4-6pm. The spaces available for private functions in The Libraries include the Papuke Room, the Chef’s Library, the Wine Library and The Lounge.


What’s in a name: kingi (short for kingfish)
Download Images

Tim Feibel, Marketing Manager
+64 21 572 747 / [email protected]

About The Hotel Britomart
Located in downtown waterfront Auckland’s Britomart precinct. The Hotel Britomart has 99 guest rooms and five luxurious Landing Suites that offer an oasis of calm in the centre of the city. Designed by Cheshire Architects, it is New Zealand’s first 5 Green Star hotel, certified by the NZ Green Building Council. Find out more at

About kingi
kingi (short for kingfish) is a restaurant that offers fresh, locally sourced food in thoughtful, approachable ways. Located just steps from The Hotel Britomart lobby on the ground floor of the heritage Masonic Building (which has been refurbished as part of The Hotel Britomart project), kingi introduces guests at the hotel to the city, and welcomes Aucklanders with an easy-going warmth that tells them it’s their place too. Open for everything from early-morning coffee to drinks, snacks, aperitifs, and fuller plates at night, kingi also offers The Hotel Britomart guests selected items as a room service menu throughout the day.

About Collection by TFE Hotels 
The Hotel Britomart is an affiliate of TFE Hotels under the Collection by TFE Hotels brand. The Collection by TFE Hotels represents beautiful hotels hallmarked by authenticity and provenance, each designed with individual character and charm. With a collection of properties that encompass striking design, customised service and attention to the individual such as The Calile Hotel Brisbane, Melbourne’s The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins and Hotel Kurrajong Canberra. The Hotel Britomart embodies these concepts while remaining proudly a product of its unique location.