I am going to talk about Waimea Cafe and Restaurant, but firstly I have to talk about Max Christie.
Max is a 16 year old singer-songwriter-guitar player with quite some musical future ahead I suspect. From a Wellington family who visit the Waikanae area reasonably regularly, Max can often be found serenading the guests at Waimea Cafe. A mix of jazz, blues, ballads, a little of his own, a little rap, a little of everything really, and expertly melded and medleyed together. In fact, I damn near forgot
to notice what I was eating such was the passion and presence of this young man (and for those who know me, you’ll know that’s almost unheard of).
So, although Max doesn’t yet have a formal marketing presence via the web or Facebook and needs to be a little older for pub gigs, keep an eye out for opportunities to see him in action (and the technical part of our household commented that he has extremely good modulation, which is apparently a very good thing) – keep an eye on Waimea Cafe’s Facebook page for info on who’s performing and when.
And so to Waimea Cafe.
The best thing about Waimea is the location. Up on the beach front at Waikanae. With regular live music in the sunshine. Pretty hard to beat.
The next best thing about Waimea is the staff. Friendly, welcoming, humorously bantering, and not missing a trick service-wise (replacing cutlery, noticing drinks were ready for refills, explaining menu items, ensuring sated and satisfied).
The third best thing is the breadth of offerings. Tasting plates, sharing platters, bigger meals, fun cocktails, a raft of craft beers, wines, front deck casual spaces, inside slightly more formal, etc (and a damned fine ladies toilet).
The menu leans towards seafood and mediterranean, with dishes like penne with tuna puttanesca, Italian lardo with agro dolce onions on toasted ciabatta, cucumber salad with potato, olives, fennel and yoghurt dressing, Waimea crab ravioli with crab bisque (keen to try that next time), Waimea seafood plate to share, etc.
Many online reviews talked about small servings for prices charged, but we found them to be satisfactory. Especially the $23 Sacred Water Pilsner battered fish and chips (monkfish no less) which had three fairly substantial pieces of fish on hand cut chips, and perfectly satisfied Mr Him Indoors.
Two of our three dishes (two tasters) could have done with a little more seasoning though and I’d like to sample more of the seafood options next time to really judge the food quality I think (ergo arrive with empty stomach).