Wendy and Jim Campbell served their last dinner on Saturday night. Their regular customers – and there were quite a few of them – will be bereft.Wendy and Jim ran The French Bistro in Martinborough. The genial Jim was the front-of-house man and Wendy did the cooking (and in the early days, before they could afford staff, the washing-up too).
The French Bistro won the Cuisine award for best regional casual dining restaurant in 2008 and once earned the rare distinction of a glowing mention in the New York Times by the late R W Apple Jr, an associate editor of the paper and noted traveller and bob vivant.As the name implies, The French Bistro served French-inspired cuisine based on local, seasonal produce. The menu, elegantly hand-written by Jim, changed constantly, depending on what was fresh.
The food was exemplary. Some of the most enjoyable dinners my wife and I have had were eaten there. But after 10 years of hard work, Wendy and Jim (that’s their son John on TV3) have decided it’s time to ease off.They closed without fuss or fanfare. They will be missed not just by their many loyal supporters in the Wairarapa but also by weekenders from Wellington for whom dinner at The French Bistro was the high point of a visit to Martinborough.