Friday, 18 February 2011

Eating out on Waiheke

Last weekend we spent a few days on Waiheke Island. It has been years since I had been to the island and even longer since I had stayed so I was looking forward to it.

Waiheke is an interesting place, full of people who think that they are interesting and a playground for the rich, famous and infamous. None of which are we. The real natives of Waiheke must breathe a huge sigh of relief when the best part of the summer is over and they can reclaim their island from the hordes of daily sightseers and holiday makers like us.

But I digress, Waiheke has a reputation for being a trendy greenie type place to be, a more upmarket version of wild west Auckland and far more accessible than Coromandel. While she who must be obeyed (SWMBO) was interested in checking out some of the arty farty stuff and wanted a photo of herself outside the various wineries I was more interested in feeding the inner man and making sure that I had a beer for lunch.

BTW whatever I tell SWMBO I'd really rather be riding!

We sampled a few eating establishments and I guess like anywhere there were some great places to eat that we would certainly return too and others that we would give a wide berth.

To be fair generally the food was great but the service in some of the establishments left a bit to be desired, not quite what I was expecting in an upmarket tourist trap. It is not a good look if you get 'forgotten' and your waitress can't speak english. What is the world coming to when you can't at least be served in a restaurant in your own country by someone who speaks more or less the the same lingo as you?

First stop was the Nourish bar and cafe in Ostend for a late lunch. The food was good and I tried one of the locally produced beers - Baroona. This was a nice we drop but I noticed that it had a use by label for later in the week. I pointed this out to the the waitress and ordered another one to help them run down their old stock.

Later in the day we wandered into Oneroa and had dinner at 151 Ocean View. Why SWMBO took us to a fish restaurant when she doesn't eat fish is beyond me. Their fish of the day was fabulous and the service was great. The sea gulls seemed well behaved and when we went past the next afternoon the deck was full of diners - always a good sign.

We rented a car for one day to get us about the countryside but we didn't make as much use of it as we could have as I had rather a boozy elevenses at Charley Farley's. SWMBO doesn't like driving on narrow gravel roads so we didn't get out to the far end of the island and I wasn't going to drive was I? The old tractor outside is a nice touch and seemed to intrigue some of the tourists.

We did however get far enough to find the Beachfront Bar and Cafe where SWMBO sampled the chicken niblets and was moved to compliment the chef on his prowess. Chicken niblets are her signature Friday night meal but they are not a patch on what came out of the kitchen at the Beachfront Bar and Cafe.

Our last evening meal was at the Vino Vino. We wanted to eat here because we had heard good things about the food. The food was good but what spoilt it a bit for us was that we had asked to sit out on the balcony when we booked only to find when we got there that the balcony had been booked for a 21st birthday party.

VinoVino is certainly the place to be by the clientele. I have never seen such a concentration of man bags in once place and was convinced that there must have been a fancy dress party up the road that most of the diners were off to afterwards. It wasn't that people were dressed in costumes so much but they were wearing the sort of gear that you'd wear to a party at Paris Hilton's Hampton pad.

Once again I helped the establishment get rid of their almost at use by use date Baroona's. The only real problem with this place as the acoustics are terrible-talk about not being able to have a quiet romantic dinner Trev. Especially with some sort of boisterous hen party going happening at the next table.

Finally, we had occasion to eat at a few other places but they are not worth a mention except one. Apart from the fact my bacon and eggs was a bit on the small side the best service by far we received was at the Wai Kitchen. I mention the Wai Kitchen as they have felt the sharp end of a NZ Herald staffer's pen after a bit of a mishap with his dinner. I was also intrigued by his comment about the lack of decent eating places in Oneroa. Clearly he is a lot harder to please than we are.

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