For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…

Archive for the tag “Waikanae”

Salt and Wood at Waikanae

I found myself at Waikanae this week and tried out the new Salt and Wood Collective, run by the folks who have North End Brewing, Long Beach and the previously-posted Olde Bakery (so they know what they’re doing).


Salt and Wood is an American-style barbecue brew pub. They brew on site (you can see it through the glass), you can fill your flagons and taste the treasures onsite (they do a specific Salt and Wood range), as well as enjoy food (mostly) cooked in a large American smoker oven.

There’s a bunch of deals throughout the week like Mexican Mondays, $10 Burger Tuesdays, and Pork Rib Fridays. As well as live music on Saturdays from 3pm.

So, given it was brunch time I figured I’d better try the breakfast sandwich, which I imagined as a BLT-style sandwich in dense grainy bread (no idea why) and turned out to be a full on burger!


The components were clearly quality, and generous, with all meats ethically raised, and as much local as possible.

The menu ranges across spent grain granola; house smoked fish with avocado, buttermilk cream and pickles on spent grain bread; a caesar salad with pulled chicken and maple bacon; a ‘kitchen sink’ sandwich (pork, brisket and gravy); dirty fries (meat and gravy); tacos, quesadillas and much more.

Alas we didn’t make it to dessert, but I wouldn’t have minded a go at the Black Bottom Pie or Baked Cherry Cheesecake.

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I was amused by the very large knife we received with our cutlery (great for keeping the opposition away from one’s food!), enjoyed their house-made sauces (you can usually buy to take home but they’d run out this time), and was impressed by the service (relaxed but efficient).

I will most certainly be back.

7 days and nights.

11 Ngaio Road, Waikanae (right across from the town centre carpark).

Coastal Cuisine

A weekend jaunt up the Kapiti coast brought some challenging weather, interesting birds (see my post here about Nga Manu Nature Reserve) and wonderful food.  The highlights:

  • RSC sage eggsThe delicious almond shortbread bought from the Paraparaumu Beach Market before the wind and rain washed them out (and the Mary Potter Hospice Strawberry Festival unfortunately).
  • The [south] Raumati Social Club’s sage eggs and quinoa/kale fritter specials (and we loved the myriad carpets on the ceiling and that there was a ‘comprehensive’ breakfast option on the menu).
  • Long Beach prawn popcornThe Long [Waikanae] Beach buzzy environment, delicious prawn popcorn, almond pear tart (later found to have come from the local Olde BeachBakery around the corner – see below), great service and fabulous tea cosies.  Also noted the new North End micro-brewery being established in the cafe so that the return visit for delicious looking (and very popular) pizza can be accompanied by a craft brew. Nice.
  • The roti with spicy peanut sauce and warming flavourful red duck curry at Muang Thai at Paraparaumu Beach.
  • No6 sconeThe scones at No 6 Cafe at Raumati Beach (simply the best we’ve had in ages, both date and cheese).
  • Everything at the Olde Beach Bakery at Waikanae Beach. I could have just pulled up a chair and stayed all day.  In the end, I took home flaky well-made pies for dinner.
  • Relish Cafe’s warm bacon and avocado salad.  Simple but tasty, in a wonderful cottage environment.

Indep BurgerFor next time we’re lining up the ones we couldn’t manage this time – the Independent Burger Company Truck at Paraparaumu Beach (due
to weather) and Soprano Italian Restaurant (also at the Beach and booked to the gunnels prior).

We are so, so lucky with our regional offerings, as well as what we tend to focus on in the city.

Bon appetit.

Waimea cafe…..and Max Christie

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
Waimea entertainto 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).

Waimea mush brushettaThe 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.

Waimea fishchipsMany 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).

1 Waimea Road, Waikanae Beach.






Long Beach at Waikanae

And for the lazy finish to a weekend of eating (last weekend!), a fine Sunday called for a brunch ride up the coast.

Waikanae felt about the right stopping distance, so a return visit to Long Beach was the go.

Long Beach

Long Beach is a peaceful spot at the beach with pleasant outdoor areas (next door to The Front Room), including a mini glass-house growing tomatoes and seedlings.

The brunch options that appealed were the Long Beach toasted muesli with house made mascarpone, and the strawberry brioche french toast (also with house made mascarpone).

Both were delicious, although the mascarpone was the texture of runny cream rather than the expected thicker cheese-like texture.

Long Beach french toast

The coffee was good, and the service welcoming and friendly.

The lunch and dinner menus look good too, so another place worth a side excursion to if passing Waikanae.

With a wee wander up over the dune opposite to check out the sea after, what more could you ask for a cruisy weekend brunch.

40 Tutere Street, Waikanae Beach.

Mmmmm Relish…

An extra bonus post this week (haven’t I been busy).  Relish cafe in Waikanae. Yummmmo.

A fine Sunday afternoon was too good to pass up for a quick ride to exercise the bikes (not unlike horses getting cranky if not ridden in a while!). According to the Met Service (probably should have learnt that lesson already) it was finer up the western coast, so a jaunt to Relish cafe at Waikanae was decided, with a return run over the Paekakariki Hill Road.  I haven’t been there in a while, but they’ve been consistently good over the years. Usually for coffee and cake on the way past, as it was to be this time too.

Relish is in a lovely little cottage just over the railway lines, doing Wednesday to Sunday daytimes.  On a fine day one can sit outside in among the cottage garden. The staff are absolutely lovely, and the food is always presented delightfully. Today I had a hankering for carrot cake and R had the vanilla slice.  The cake being dense and moist and most satisfying, and the slice being sinfully creamy and glossy and entertaining as all getup to watch him eat!

I chose a hot lemon honey ginger drink which came in its own white teapot with cup and extra hot water.  Far nicer than the usual glass (and a darn sight easier to hold – do those cafe people forget glass gets really really really hot?).  And R’s coffee had good crema and pleasing coffee aromas wafting around as well.  So, up to its usual high standard then. Definitely a place you should aim for if passing up and down the highway.

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