February 12, 2013

Waiheke Island: lunch at Cable Bay Vineyards

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.

Cable Bay Waiheke Island

From the carpark, descend the stairs and the view is through the foyer

Cable Bay foyer

Restaurant to the left, wine bar and tasting to room to the right

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.

Cable Bay bean bags

These are so popular you need to jump quick to get one!

Cable Bay outdoors

A glass of wine outside under an umbrella is just the ticket

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.

Cable Bay wine cellar

The wine cellar is perfect for a really special dinner

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:

Cable Bay starter

The smoked venison was our pick for entre – although their pate was to die for!

Cable Bay snapper

Our table had steak, lamb and pork belly, but this snapper dish was our pick for fave

Cable Bay dessert

This chocolate mousse dessert with sorbet and apricots was perfect

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!

Click here to visit the website of Cable Bay Vineyards

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

"Waiheke Island: lunch at Cable Bay Vineyards" - What do you think?

Leave a comment