Award-winning Wellington restaurant goes vegetarian

An award-winning Wellington restaurant is ditching meat in favour of going vegetarian, joining a raft of vegetarian and vegan eateries taking over the capital.

In September, the animal hide at Hillside Kitchen Cellar will come down, and there'll be no more black pudding or bacon.

"We've seen over the last three years the change in dining anyway, we have a huge demand as it is for meatless dining," owner and chef Asher Boote says.

He believes no one else in Wellington is doing higher-end dining with a solely vegetarian menu.

"We're gonna grow a lot of the food here on site in our garden behind the restaurant, so it's having that tactile connection to food."

But Mr Boote's not anti-meat - his two other eateries will still serve you a rack of lamb.

"I grew up on a sheep and beef farm in the middle of nowhere - and I know what farmers put in to looking after animals, and making sure they're well-respected. So I've got nothing against meat," he says.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, as consumers in the capital embrace plant-based eateries. There are dozens already on offer and more are on the way.

Mr Boote says they're excited to push the boundaries as an established restaurant. Hillside has only just won a top gong for having the highest culinary standards in beef and lamb.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand says it still deserves it - but it might want to display the plate elsewhere come September.