Waiheke: Where to Eat on New Zealand's Wine Island

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Basking in its own microclimate off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand's Waiheke was traditionally an escape for alternative lifestylers running from the city's rat race. Time and transport have gradually caught up with the island and now day-trippers can sample its beaches, laid-back villages and -- famously -- its wine. The island is home to more than 20 vineyards -- about one for every 370 residents -- and plenty of them have great on-site restaurants where the food is as delicious as the wine.

Recently its owners have opened a more casual eatery, The Archive Bar, and Bistro, which shares the same sea views and landscaped setting as the original restaurant -- but under a canvas roof. Built around a sculpture of a wine bar that Mudbrick's owners spotted during the island's biannual Sculpture on the Gulf festival, the venue is deliberately casual, a menu that allows for drop-in nibbles as well as hearty meals.

Head chef Logan Coath uses words like "honest and approachable, ethical and sustainable" to describe the food, which he says nourishes body and soul. He and owner Robyn Jones suggest a slow-cooked lamb shoulder as The Archive's signature dish, but note it's closely followed by the bistro's roasted cauliflower steak with pine nuts, golden raisins, and crispy capers that "can even impress the carnivores."

Tantalus is a relative newcomer to the Waiheke scene, opening in late 2016, but is already gaining plaudits for its exceptional food. Owners Carrie Mendell and Campbell Aitken took an existing winery and gave it a complete overhaul, with a stylish and light-filled interior behind a Spanish mission-style frontage.

The food is exquisite and immaculately plated. Tantalus says its head chef Paul Jobin takes an innovative approach: "Consideration is always given to healthy cooking, seasonality, textural composition and origin with added snippets of a surprise to catch you off guard." A pork shoulder, for example, is "coffee rubbed" and served with savoy cabbage and apple fondue. In the cellar, a microbrewery -- Alibi -- rubs shoulders with an elegant private dining space, which opens onto its own courtyard and of course, lush green grape vines surround the whole complex.

tantalus is a relative newcomer to the Waiheke scene, opening in late 2016, but is already gaining plaudits for its exceptional food. Owners Carrie Mendell and Campbell Aitken took an existing winery and gave it a complete overhaul, with a stylish and light-filled interior behind a Spanish mission-style frontage.

The food is exquisite and immaculately plated. Tantalus says its head chef Paul Jobin takes an innovative approach: "Consideration is always given to healthy cooking, seasonality, textural composition and origin with added snippets of a surprise to catch you off guard." A pork shoulder, for example, is "coffee rubbed" and served with savoy cabbage and apple fondue. In the cellar, a microbrewery -- Alibi -- rubs shoulders with an elegant private dining space, which opens onto its own courtyard and of course, lush green grape vines surround the whole complex.

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KAL_1498802659_1.jpg New Zealand's Wine Island
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