Monday, September 19, 2011

Te Whau Vineyard on Waiheke

As I put in my previous post Helen, for her birthday, took us over to Waiheke for lunch at Te Whau Vineyard restaurant. I had only heard and read amazing things about this place about it being the best place to eat on Waiheke and that it has won numerous awards for it's New Zealand/Pacific Rim food. It is based above their winery, seats 60 people (so it isn't too big), and has amazing views of Waiheke Island, Rangitoto and the Auckland Isthmus (as you can see in the photos above). It was such a lovely place to have lunch. We were lucky that the day we went the weather (while not brilliant sunshine), was lovely enough to enjoy the ferry ride over and to appreciate the incredible views from the restaurant. Apparently the winery is very good and they also offer wine tours encompassing the vineyard, winemaking facility and underground barrel cellar. 

Most of us had a starter and a main and dessert was later on at George and Russell's house (as I have already posted about). My two boys were content to share a starter of homemade bread, pesto and olives (with an extra bowl of olives) for their munch. Although they didn't have a kids menu as such, they did offer a child's meal of either fish or beef with some potatoes and salad. Reuben and harry LOVE pesto and they LOVE olives so they were more than happy with their choice. Renee had a starter of the salmon and then had the child's size fish which looked really lovely and not at all like a 'kids meal'. For the starters two of us had the smoked salmon, two had the scallops and one had the goat cheese tart. All were gorgeous. The salmon was served with some bread and a mustard aioli and made the perfect entree. The scallops I tasted were lovely and were done in a vanilla and tomato sauce. I'm not keen on goats cheese but it was proclaimed to be delicious too.

House- smoked salmon smoked over Manuka and Oak barrel Shavings (I had had a bite of it before I remembered to take the photo)

The Scallops special with Tomato and Vanilla Jus

Baked Goat Cheese and Mushroom Tart with Spiced Beetroot Jam, Vincotto, Salad Greens and Hazelnuts (again it had a bite taken out of it before I remembered to photograph it)

Olives and Homemade Pesto with Artisan Breads (the Pesto was delicious and the boys asked for another bowl of olives)
For the mains most people seemed to get the beef. They all pronounced it to be delicious and very tasty. I am one of those irritating people who always head for the same thing on the menu which is always beef. However this time I headed out of my comfort zone and went for the duck. I was not disappointed. The duck was amazing. It was tender and tasty and the accompanying elements on the dish complimented it perfectly. The dumplings were like crisp wontons and added a really lovely and different textural element to the dish. Jimmy said the fish was also really good. I think the photos say it all really.

John Dory with Prawn and Fennel Risotto, Herbs, Vermouth and Crustacean Essence 

Twice Cooked Duck with Spicy Dumplings, Bok Choy, Cashews, Duck and Orange Jus

And another shot of this delicious dish

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Potato Tarte, Port Wine and Onion Jam, Watercress, Te Whau Canernet Jus 

Skillet Roasted lamb Loin, Lamb Beignet, White Bean Puree, Mojo Rojo (have no idea what that is), Olive and Pistachios, Jus 

Vegetables of Potatoes, Green Beans with Almond and Honey Roasted Kumara
So thank Helen for a lovely lunch experience. We had a fantastic time.

Happy Birthday to you too Reubs

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