There is nothing more sublime than taking the ferry from Auckland (about 30 minutes from either downtown or Halfmoon Bay) and landing on Waiheke Island for lunch in the sun.
I popped out on New Year’s Day and the aforementioned sun was smiling. It clearly knew we were going to be seeing a lot more of it over this classic kiwi summer we’re currently basking in.
From the ferry you can catch a cab or a bus. We had arrived at Half Moon Bay and there a ricketty old bus owned by the unlikely named Jaguar Tours charged us $5 per head to take us where we’d like. Cable Bay please.
I’ve never been here before, but owner and winemaker Neill Culley produces a mighty fine drop here onsite and new co-owners Loukas and Caroline Petrou have added some new touches when it comes to style and relaxing. Cue bean bag chairs arranged on the infinity lawn that drops into the view of Auckland city’s skyline and a sunken outdoor dining area under umbrellas for a cheeky wine in that sun instead of the fine dining restaurant.
Herbs and veges are grown in a garden out the front and sculptures dot the lawn making a great photo op – or play thing, depending upon your age.
We had a good look around, checking out the private cellar in the low-lit basement where small groups can dine or taste Neill’s wines under a chandelier and surrounded by his best drops in bottle and barrel. Another meeting space is available upstairs for private functions. And before or after lunch – or instead of – you can hang out in the bar and tasting room, and order small plates for that outdoor dining area.
But it was the main restaurant we had a booking for. A table for 4 was set up in the window of this large dining room. It’s lighter than it was with a new paint job freshening up the walls. Chef Sam Clark has been here about 3 years and his tastes and presentation are perfect. Expect to pay $25 for an entre and $45 for a main.
Cutting to the chase, here’s what we had:
Expect to hob nob with Auckland’s elite (those who have homes on Waiheke – you know who you are), and a few internationals have been known to helicopter in too. Cable Bay is really popular for weddings, for obvious reasons. I’ll definitely be back!