Who was Miss Perez?
Purveyor of style, social chameleon, lover of shoes, chivalry and food experimentation.
How she influenced Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar
Look closely at every detail of Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar - from the zoned layout of the dining areas, to the warm and welcoming nature of the space, the share-plates that encourage conversation, the style of the furnishings and the eclectic flavours on the menu - this is where you will find Miss Perez.
The Spanish Influence
One dark and stormy night in 1916 a wealthy Spanish merchant shipwrecked off the coast of the Tokelau Islands. That terrible mistake turned to a wonderful opportunity; soon the merchant found love with a local woman who gave birth to Henry - Miss Perez’s father. As Henry grew he desired more and left for Samoa where, like his father, he fell in love with a beautiful local girl - the daughter of a high chief. The chief protested but could not stop them and soon Henry and his new love gave birth to Mary - who would one day travel the world like her relatives and be known as Miss Perez.
In the restaurant we remember these Spanish and Samoan roots, as well as the Perez family spirit of adventure. Big shared plates and always willing to try new flavours.
The Samoan Influence
Inspired by her father, Henry, who made his living making and selling moonshine to the US soldiers stationed in Samoa during WWII, Miss Perez moved to New Zealand at a young age to provide for her family. It was here working in a hospital kitchen that she met her Australian husband, with whom she would have four beautiful children, the youngest of which would open a restaurant in her name.
Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar uses moonshine jars in their decor and for selling beer in memory of Miss Perez’s father Henry Perez.
The Family, Sharing and Experimental Food
From a young age Miss Perez (Mary) fed, loved and provided for a large extended family. Smells of herbs, spices and tropical flavours permeated the warm evening air as she effortlessly prepared the most extravagant feasts. The guests at dinner were different each night; anyone who stopped by was lovingly enveloped by the family and shared her new cooking creations, ice-cold drinks and warm laughter.
Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar embraces this experimental cooking style and uses the freshest ingredients to make exciting meals to share and bond over - always with the right drink.
The Style and Charity
A chameleon of the world and effortlessly stylish, Miss Perez looked the part dressed to the nines on the streets of New York, or shopping in Paris. But her heart remained by the sea and you would often find her barefoot in the sands of Samoa. Her shoe collection rivaled that of Imelda Marcos, once spending $10,000 on a shopping spree in Spain. Never attached to these possessions, they were given away to family and friends and , as many people recount, strangers would often be gifted the clothes off her back.
Miss Perez Kitchen & Bar reflects Mary’s effortless sense of style and occasional love of lavish detail. Her favourite room would have been the Peacock Room, but we like to think there is a bit of her in the detail of the entire restaurant.
On the 25th February 2008 Miss Perez (known to all as Mrs Mary Raven) passed away at the age of 64. She was remembered by all for her smile, incredible sense of style, cheeky laugh, childlike innocence, kindness and most of all her generosity. This restaurant is her youngest daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Che’s tribute to her beautiful life.