48 HOURS ON WAIHEKE

PLAN A COU­PLE OF FOOD-FILLED DAYS ON THIS HAU­RAKI GULF HAVEN WITH ALICE NEVILLE’S UL­TI­MATE GUIDE.

Cuisine - - CONTENTS -

Alice Neville on how to eat and drink your way around this Hau­raki Gulf haven

DAY ONE

Kick things off with some caf­feinated sus­te­nance from Is­land Cof­fee. Jane and Stephen Burn have been roast­ing on Waiheke since 1999 and sup­ply cafes and restau­rants across the is­land. Their Os­tend shop is a lit­tle gem, hidden down a drive next to the su­per­mar­ket. Pick up a flat white and some beans to take home and browse the cof­fee-re­lated para­pher­na­lia for sale while lis­ten­ing to some clas­sic vinyl. Don’t sleep in though – it’s open only til mid­day, six days a week (closed Sun­days). is­land­cof­fee.co.nz

If it hap­pens to be Satur­day, the Os­tend Mar­ket just along the road is well worth check­ing out. Grab an em­panada from South Amer­i­can Oven or a sausage roll from Babicka’s Ta­ble (break­fast of cham­pi­ons) and buy some veges to take home from the grow­ers of the Awaararoa Bay Eco Vil­lage. Be­fore you leave, pop across the road to Franco’s Panet­te­ria to pick up a loaf of bread for to­mor­row’s break­fast. wai­hekeostend­mar­ket.co.nz; face­book.com/Fran­cosLaPanet­te­ria

Time for lunch! Tan­talus Es­tate is just a few min­utes’ drive away, on the road to One­tangi. (Okay, if you feel you need to work off that sausage roll first, you could al­ways hit up Wild on Waiheke for some archery or clay bird shoot­ing? It’s on the way.) wildon­wai­heke.co.nz

Camp­bell Aitken and Car­rie Men­dell founded Tan­talus Es­tate in 2013 and set about re­vamp­ing the tired win­ery build­ing on the site they took on, even­tu­ally open­ing in Septem­ber last year. Thanks to the de­sign tal­ents of Cheshire Ar­chi­tects, it’s now one of the most im­pres­sive lunch spots on the is­land, all lo­cal stone and re­cy­cled kauri, with very cool light­ing fix­tures sculpted from vines that were re­moved from the site. Chef Paul Jobin cre­ates beau­ti­fully pre­sented, in­no­va­tive dishes us­ing in­ter­est­ing sea­sonal pro­duce – try the seafood ra­men in cray­fish broth. Yes, this is a win­ery restau­rant (and the vino is top-notch), but don’t pass up the op­por­tu­nity to try some ex­cel­lent beers from the in­house brew­ery, Al­ibi. tan­talus.co.nz

Don’t overdo it, mind – you’ve got an­other 40 hours or so of eat­ing and drink­ing ahead, so pace your­self. On that note, how about an af­ter­noon stroll on the sand, or even a swim if the weather per­mits? One­tangi is one of the is­land’s best beaches, the kind of long ex­panse of golden sand that makes you think you just might be in par­adise.

Af­ter all that ex­er­tion, you’ll be ready for some more food and wine. Te Motu Vine­yard, back near Tan­talus, is old-school Waiheke – it’s been in the Dun­leavy fam­ily since 1988. Some very good Bordeaux-style reds are pro­duced here, and there’s no bet­ter place to sam­ple them than at the win­ery restau­rant, The Shed. Chef Bron­wen Laight lives and breathes the lo­cal, sea­sonal mantra, with much of the in­gre­di­ents in her dishes grown on site – you might have cau­li­flower, farro, smoked egg yolk, brus­sels sprouts and Cwmg­lyn raw milk cheese, or crispy pig’s head, ruby sauer­kraut, ap­ple, mus­tard and mi­cro­greens, fin­ish­ing off with gin­ger-lime sago with pear sor­bet, fei­joa, co­conut and per­sim­mon. temotu.co.nz/theshed

You’ll be need­ing some­where to rest your weary head af­ter all this win­ing and din­ing. May we sug­gest Wood­side Bay? Tucked away on the south side of the is­land, this very spe­cial spot is home to An­gela and John Good­win and their small olive grove. Ear­lier this year the cou­ple opened their two rather lovely guest suites, The Blue Room and The Green Room, both of which boast sweep­ing views over rolling vine-cov­ered hills out to­wards the Hau­raki Gulf. An­gela, who hails from York­shire, makes a charm­ing host, and if you ask nicely she might let you sam­ple some of her award-win­ning olive oil. Make sure you take a bot­tle or two of the pep­pery Koroneki blend, which picked up a gold medal and a best-in-class award at the 2016 New Zealand Olive Oil Awards, home with you. wood­side­bay.co.nz; airbnb.co.nz/ rooms/15733404 and 15733857

DAY TWO

When hunger lures you away from gaz­ing at that view from the com­fort of your bed, pop next door to Wood­side Bay’s well-ap­pointed kitch­enette to toast some of the Franco’s bread you picked up yes­ter­day and en­joy a leisurely break­fast be­fore head­ing out for the day’s ad­ven­tures. Due east from here is Poderi Crisci, but you’ll have to fol­low the road north­wards be­fore curv­ing back down to the bot­tom of the is­land. As fate would have it, this will take you right by One­tangi Re­serve. From wet­land to nikau for­est and stands of kauri, the 50-hectare re­serve is home to a grow­ing ar­ray of wild crea­tures. Three linked tracks cir­cle the re­serve –

start and fin­ish your walk at Roy Nel­son Gate, just up from One­tangi Hall on Waiheke Road (it’s on Google Maps). Stop for a breather on Po­hutakawa Ridge, then take an­other break on the view­ing plat­form in Kauri Grove. Al­low a cou­ple of hours. fore­stand­bird.org.nz/ what-we-do/re­serves/one­tangi-re­serve­wai­heke-is­land

If that sounds like a bit too much ef­fort, you could al­ways opt for a tour and tast­ing of some of the ex­cel­lent olive oils at Rangi­houa Es­tate, back in the di­rec­tion of Wood­side Bay. rangi­houa.co.nz

Af­ter all that na­ture or olive oil, you’ll be more than ready for a long, leisurely Ital­ian lunch. There’s no bet­ter spot for such ac­tiv­i­ties than Poderi Crisci, which is about as close to an au­then­ti­cally Ital­ian ex­pe­ri­ence you can get on this side of the world. Rows of vines set in a pic­turesque green val­ley, boun­ti­ful gar­dens and long wooden ta­bles laden with an­tipasti and con­torni, pasta and risotto, and wine, of course – what’s not to like? Sun­day is of­fi­cial long Ital­ian lunch day, so set aside a few hours and let pro­pri­etor An­to­nio and his team look af­ter you for $75 a head (ex­clud­ing wine). Al­ter­na­tively, you can of course en­gi­neer your own long lunch any day of the week from the a la carte menu, or if you’re short on time, pop into the newly opened La Lo­canda next to the restau­rant to sam­ple some wine and an­tipasti de­lights. poderi­crisci.co.nz

If you’ve taken the less in­dul­gent op­tion, you’ll be in fine shape to carry on an­other 25 min­utes or so to the eastern end of the is­land. Man O’ War Vine­yards boasts the only beach­front tast­ing room on Waiheke and the ca­sual plat­ter lunch is a per­fect match for the win­ery’s rosé, the Man O’ War Pinque. First re­leased in 2014, Pinque is a clas­si­cally styled pale dry rosé, a blend of 66 per cent mer­lot and 33 per cent mal­bec, grown on the steep hill­sides around Waiheke’s idyl­lic Cac­tus Bay. It’s a fam­ily-friendly venue with park-like sur­round­ings and a good swim­ming beach, al­though not so pleas­ant if an east­erly wind is driv­ing into the bay. If you fancy get­ting mar­ried on site, there’s a cute lit­tle chapel es­pe­cially built a few years ago for the wed­ding of the vine­yard’s rich-lis­ter owner, Ber­ridge Spencer. manowarvine­yards.co.nz

A nap back at Wood­side Bay might be a good idea at this point, be­fore you head into Oneroa, the clos­est thing Waiheke has to a big smoke, for a light dinner. The Oys­ter Inn is a great spot for (un­sur­pris­ingly, given the name) a few lo­cal Te Matuku oys­ters, and the salt and pep­per squid is al­ways a good time.

Al­ter­na­tively, just across the road you’ll find ex­cel­lent fish and chips with a view at The Lo­cal, or if the weather per­mits, head down to Lit­tle Oneroa for some wood­fired de­li­cious­ness from the Dragon­fired pizza cart. theoys­terinn.co.nz; th­e­lo­cal­wai­heke.co.nz; dragon­fired.co.nz

FI­NAL MORN­ING

Be­fore you farewell the won­ders of Waiheke, don’t pass up a visit to The An­nex in Os­tend, which is owned by the Is­land Cof­fee crew. Jennifer Perry of Lit­tle Tart Bak­ery sup­plies the ex­quis­ite baked goods – think leek and ched­dar spelt galettes, peach melba tarts and baked vanilla cheese­cake – and it’s set in a charm­ing his­toric cot­tage. It’s open Fri­day-Mon­day but is cur­rently tak­ing a win­ter break, reopen­ing on Septem­ber 1. in­sta­gram.com/_the_an­nex_

Fi­nally, if you’ve got time be­fore your ferry back to the main­land, head around the cor­ner to Fac­tory Ce­ram­ics and pick up a bowl, plat­ter or tum­bler or two to take home as a me­mento of your is­land get­away. fac­to­ryc­e­ram­ics.co.nz ■

BE­LOW Moun­tain River veni­son with goat par­fait, burnt miso, beet­root, crushed peas, chicken crack­ling & daikon ash oil at Tan­talus Es­tate

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