June 22, 2024

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Food travel: Waiheke’s best restaurants and bars for family dining and indulgence

Food travel: Waiheke’s best restaurants and bars for family dining and indulgence

Waiheke Island’s Tantalus Estate is the ideal spot for a lengthy, decadent lunch. Picture / Equipped

Anna King Shahab

Seafood towers, laid-back loved ones feasting, and the return of the correctly prolonged lunch – a summer time crack on Waiheke yielded a triptych of eating encounters, all quite diverse, and all of which I’d really advocate.

Heke, Indeed!

Past summer we produced a beeline for freshly opened The Heke in Onetangi, loving its calm, occur-as-you-are vibe, generous outdoor seating, helpful company, and household and group-friendliness. The outdoor engage in space is in get to in just the appropriate way, the QR-code desk buying will make it effortless for teams to shell out-as-they-go. This summer we had been thrilled to uncover a menu that has developed in measurement and breadth, with the extremely excellent pizzas joined by things like silky, salty carpaccio, tuna tartare, and smoked fish whip with pillowy focaccia. The young ones cherished the southern fried chicken, smashed burger, and the “kids”-sized (browse: even now enormous) pizza.

The business is a “stronger together” union of two area family members. Waiheke Whisky makers Mark and Ro Izzard joined Waiheke Brewing people Mark and Vivian Hindmarsh. You are going to discover the partners and their offspring functioning the flooring at The Heke, which is just one cause the location feels so welcoming the hospitality feels homely. A stroll by the distillery-in-construction with co-owner Mark Izzard reveals fantastic points to arrive: a brewery and whisky distillery that will function symbiotically, and another restaurant place, which present-day The Heke chef Andrei Rotar will helm. Rotar, who beforehand labored at Auckland’s Alta and Blenheim’s Harvest, has distinct ambitions for degustation type eating and thought of drinks matches, the two whisky-driven and non-alcoholic. Speaking of beverages, do check out the Backyard Gin & Tonic – their signature gin characteristics botanicals from on website, the greatest straight-up G&T I’ve experienced this summer time – and the negroni is a great way to wrap up an afternoon.


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The kitchen team at Waiheke's The Heke. Photo / Anna King Shahab
The kitchen area group at Waiheke’s The Heke. Picture / Anna King Shahab

Island Pearl

It experienced been several many years considering that I’d skipped up the staircase to The Oyster Inn, and the to start with time because Josh and Helen Emett took around. Now is a good time to go, individuals – Josh and his kitchen area workforce including head chef Jamie Wharekawa-Hogg have overhauled the menu, heroing local kaimoana extra than ever with the seafood tower (tip: the tower to serve 2–4 is alternatively a large amount of foodstuff if you are, as we were, only two at the table). Really don’t pass up the oyster roll (Te Matuku oyster, battered and fried, in a delicious brioche bun with harissa mayo, topped with pickled zucchini). Steak fan? The scotch fillet was properly cooked, served with tremendous-loaded mushroom a la creme and rosemary fries – it would be unattainable to go household hungry adhering to this reassuringly hearty variety.

Innkeepers Sam and Kate sail the ship expertly and their wine information – furthermore an Italian chef becoming welcomed on to the staff – has viewed a shakeup on the beverages checklist with a aim on islands together with Sicily, the Greek Islands, and of class, Waiheke. With its spot in the coronary heart of Oneroa Village and views across rooftops to the distant Coromandel Peninsula, The Oyster Inn nails the urban sophistication-fulfills-island appeal brief.

Innkeeper Sam from Waiheke's The Oyster Inn, owned by Josh and Helen Emett. Photo / Anna King Shahab
Innkeeper Sam from Waiheke’s The Oyster Inn, owned by Josh and Helen Emett. Picture / Anna King Shahab

Lunch Objectives

If there’s ever a cause to set aside a very good half working day for pure enjoyment, a scheduling at Tantalus for its Have faith in the Chef menu is it. From the moment you are seated (a personalised welcome notice and the day’s menu, printed on recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds to acquire home and scatter), you are in for a relatively lengthy deal with. Allow for three hrs … while we invested virtually 5! You can decide for snacks and either three or 5 programs, in addition there are nutritional supplement dishes, which typically feature unusual elements the kitchen area has secured, that may possibly also catch your eye.

Snacks from Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island. Photo / Anna King Shahab
Treats from Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island. Photo / Anna King Shahab

Chef Gideon Landman (previously of Baduzzi and The French Cafe) has had a several a long time to soak up the island vibes and it exhibits: I’d say Waiheke delicacies has really arrived thanks to what Gideon is plating up here. Portion of that is down to his use of area develop grown and foraged (our menu boasted coastal succulents, nettle, kawakawa, olive branch, and Tantalus’ honey) which he crafts into a multitude of classes that collectively paint a photograph of the put. Lavish inclusions such as Auckland scampi, crayfish, Lumina lamb and the creme de la creme of NZ salmon, Ora King’s Tyee, produced for an practical experience that was truly a slice above.


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The wine matches are all Tantalus Estate wines of Waiheke origin – aside from a glass of Ruinart Brut NV from Reims in our situation, which was poured to match the salmon nutritional supplement dish in a fully killer move, and Pedro Ximenez sherry with the bitter chocolate cremeaux dessert. Sommelier Linda is a star – she has encounter doing the job on Waiheke vineyards throughout a lot of vintages and imparts knowledge in an straightforward, warm method.

As very well as that Champagne salmon relationship, my favourite pairing experienced to be Heirloom tomatoes with a mad-fantastic Mahoe cheese croquette and foraged nettle pesto matched with pinot gris from the pretty vines we gazed out on to. Texturally and flavour-smart, it was stunning.