This has been my best trip to Hawkes Bay to date, as I got to go to six amazing new cafe/restaurant/bars. I’m combining six blog posts in one and you won’t be disappointed.
My ultimate fave was the Wine Street restaurant (opposite the Wine Store) located in the County Hotel. We have walked past this place so many times and not even realised there was a restaurant or bar here. Hubby saw their blackboard menu, I googled tripadvisor and we were instantly sold.
Prices for mains in the Bay everywhere are around the $35-$38 mark however the service here was absolutely five star and worth every cent. Our German Maitre-d worked his magic around the stunning, eloquent, illuminated dining room. The European ambiance is romantic and you’re surrounded with wine bottles stacked extremely high on the wall with an old vault acting as a liquor cabinet and nice furniture. We ordered a glass of local red which was delicious and went straight to our mains. I wanted the duck but eventually chose the lamb rump and hubby had the surf and turf risotto. No regrets. We flagged dessert and moved next door to the cute Churchill’s champagne and snug bar, to have a decaf Bailey’s liqueur coffee with biscotti and a cognac. They had a fab snacks menu here too if you want something a little more low key. We’d love to own a wee bar like this.
We then had a second nightcap at the recently opened Monica Loves bar which is located next door to and owned by Mister D. It was fairly quiet on a Thursday night but had really nice barmen and a cool vibe.
I finally made it to Pipi’s in Havelock, with its awesome pink/red decor. Cute. My duck confit was sensational and hubby enjoyed his schnitzel. Our friend’s enjoyed their calamari, and nettle soup starters followed by pizza and gnocchi. I liked the mix of French casual/fine dining with no pretences and prices to suit varied budgets. The sticky pudding and tiramisu were trying to seduce me however they have a large jar of jaffas on the counter, so instead our friend helped himself (as you do here), and this sufficed as dessert. Service was very friendly.
As I’m heading to St Germain in Paris in a few weeks, it was nice to try this wee namesake cafe in Dalton St, for a client lunch. The decor is French however the food is not. There is a sweet courtyard out the back as well as inside seating. They offer a specials board (however we weren’t offered it so forgot about it), plus they have a brunch menu or cabinet food options. The cabinet/counter is laden with a mix of awesome bright sweet treats (some gluten-free) and savoury options and you become overwhelmed as it all looks wonderful. We chose the buckwheat quiche with salad, mac and cheese and corn fritters. These were good. We shared the chocolate pina colada truffle, chocolate peanut butter truffle and peanut butter smash slice. The pina colada gained first prize. Plus I got to try a wee bit of the mint slice and gluten-free lemon berry slice later and these were yummy. Coffees were good. Service was very efficient but minimal. I recommended to Hubby to go try their mince on toast special for breakfast the next day. He told me he had to ask for it. Why have a specials board then? He said it was very good though and he took a picture for me for my post. Bless.
Finally another goodie was the Albion Canteen. Strange name as Canteen it was not. This was right up my alley as it was almost paleo in its healthy food choices. I loved the contemporary decor mix of tables and booth seating. I was keen on the gorgeous-looking steak salad but as it was national fried chicken day, I had to be hip and order this didn’t I?. It was served with a choice of three delicious salads. I only chose the green bean and beetroot salad as am not a big fan of chickpeas. It was served in a rustic tin pan dish which I just loved, and it was so delicious. Rustic. The equally delicious array of cakes and slices were just so tempting but Mrs Discipline here, just chose to ogle only. Being a bit coffeed-out, I had a lemon, honey and ginger that was nice and I have been told the coffee is very good. The bonus here was that I sat next to these two lovely local foodie ladies and we instantly struck up conversation. They gave me the low-down on some great places to go so these are on my list for my next trip. One is also now one of my new blog followers. Thank you Susan, you made my day.
Take care and “mind the roads now” as my London Cockney friend used to say, which always made me chuckle.