Looking for your next getaway? Hawke’s Bay offers a wealth of hospitality treasures, as Sarah Tuck discovers.
It had been years since I’d spent any time roaming the beautiful part of the country that is Hawke’s Bay. With just three days to explore, I got on the hotline to Drinks Editor Yvonne Lorkin for her tips, then armed with her recommendations, and those of friends and family, I set out to sample a range of accommodation, bites, sips and general good times. Here I bring you a selection of my discoveries, including my absolute favourites!
The location for our beautiful recipe feature on page 54 of our latest issue, the Black Barn is an iconic part of the Hawke’s Bay landscape. For special occasions, with a location close to wineries and just up the road from the charming Havelock shops and eateries, Black Barn is perfect for one or two couples, looking to roam the area, kick back and relax. blackbarn.com
If you have a very special occasion to celebrate – say, a significant birthday or anniversary – I can think of no better place to indulge than Cape Kidnappers. With internationally acclaimed luxury accommodation, a sensational spa
and spectacular wine and food, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers provides a total escape that is both restorative and invigorating. robertsonlodges.com/the-lodges/cape-kidnappers
Te Mata Park
Just down the road from Black Barn is Te Mata Park, providing the optimal antidote to over-indulgence with a range of tracks to the summit. Once you’ve found your way to the top, you’ll be rewarded with 360° views of Hawke’s Bay and the Heretaunga Plains. There are options suitable for walking and mountain or road cycling. tematapark.co.nz
For a break between eating and drinking I recommend you take some time to check out this tiny, beautifully curated gallery in the heart of Napier. Featuring work from artists such as Martin Poppelwell, Billy Apple and Gavin Hurley, Space would be at home in any major international city yet fits perfectly into the gentle surrounds. thisisspace.co.nz
Should you find yourself in the mood for an after-dinner drink with laid-back vibes, Monica Loves is a great option for a last wee whisky before bed – or a cheeky bowl of fries and a beer on a sunny Sunday afternoon. monicaloves.co.nz
Tucked behind an Italian-inspired deli, the vibe of this Napier spot is a more than a little bit ‘speakeasy’ as you walk through the back to Teresa Cocktail Bar. With an aim to serve up innovative cocktails that you wouldn’t be able to make at home, Teresa delivers with a range of options based on different theatre ‘breaks’, from pre-theatre through acts one, two and beyond. A must-visit. harvesthospitality.co.nz/teresa
Milk and Honey
Milk and Honey has such a stylish, carefully considered environment, it’s almost a relief that the food lives up to the interior. Choose from a Bao Bacon Butty for breakfast, Dan Dan Noodles for lunch or Red Duck for dinner… and so much more. themilkandhoney.co.nz
Sometimes you just know you’re going to have a good time from the moment you walk in the door – Hunger Monger is one of those places. With a colourful selection of cheery patterned tablecloths and tables dotted with soft ring lights, the vibe is friendly and inviting. Chef Fraser Slack serves up seafood dishes with a keen eye on sustainability as well as delivering exactly the kind of meal you want to rip into at a seaside eatery. On our visit we devoured stunning tuna Sashimi, Pāua Dumplings with Nori-Yaki Sauce, Grilled Fish of the Day with Kūmara Miso Mash, Green Kale, Sesame and Bean Sprout Kimchi and their famous Yellow Curry with Grilled Fish, Rice Fritter, Peas, Beans and Peanuts. To finish we shared a subtly flavoured crème brûlée with an amaretti cookie. While delighted with my choices, I would have loved to return for a Fish Burger with Slaw, Lemon Yoghurt Dressing and Chermoula, Pickles and Aioli! While Fraser is “on the tools”, partner Agnieszka Wills works the room, ensuring every diner is looked after with genuine warmth. hungermonger.co.nz
Heading to Hawke’s Bay soon? Don’t miss the Hawke’s Bay Winter Food and Wine Classic, which returns in June for four weekends of delicious events. Programme highlights include a collab between Black Barn Bistro and Craggy Range, a five-course ode to Matariki and a food film festival in Napier. fawc.co.nz
Special thank you to Booking.com - Swiss-Belboutique Napier
Our accommodation in Napier was a cinch to book through Booking.com with the website providing loads of options and ratings for places to stay throughout Hawke's Bay. booking.com