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Our mission at the Saison restaurant is to protect and preserve our shared resources – land, sea, soil and water.

We acknowledge John McKelly on whose ancestral land the Saison restaurant sit and their continuing kaitiakitanga of it. We also recognise the taonga that are the native ingredients we use in our menu.

We are an independent, New Zealand owned restaurant run by a small team. For 17 years we have been brewing fresh quality beer using New Zealand grown hops and malted barley.

Independence means thinking for ourselves. We have an ethos of resourcefulness and creativity in how our restaurant is run. We are proud to be New Zealand’s first B Corp certified Restaurant.

The Saison restaurant was established in 2004 on the site of what was once a local timber mill established in the 1860’s. In February 2016 we moved from the original site in Leigh, and we now work from premises just out of Matakana at 10 Wood Road.

In July 2016 we opened the doors to the Saison restaurant, a place to visit for generous hospitality, food with gumption, 14 beers on tap and a drinks list that showcases organic wines and the best New Zealand producers. We also offer our full range of beer to takeaway as well as flagon fills.

Sam wanted to spend a day with John seeing how he made food on a commercial scale, so he went up there and came home that evening saying John and Decima were keen to sell it, they had another business they wanted to concentrate on. 6 weeks later we owned it. We worked like crazy, it was summer and there was so much to learn. We knew then that we wanted to make excellent food. There was a real single mindedness to it. Not much attention paid to marketing or to what anyone else was doing. Just hours in the restaurant understanding everything.

The relative isolation we had from the food community (8 years ago most restaurants were in Nelson or Wellington) has played a big role in shaping Sawmill. Rather than looking at what other restaurants were doing, we made our own decisions, and the more you do that the more confident you become doing it.

John McKelly and Sam Green
We always
wanted to make
– both of us did.

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