This week I ventured a little bit further than my usual- jumped on a ferry, and trekked to Waiheke for one of the more famous of their restaurants, The Oyster Inn. We went all out, the classic old hotel which also has a well equipped kitchen boasts a decent drinks list and an awesome sea view from the balcony as we sipped our Veuve Cliquot and received what was in my opinion, the best lunch service I’ve had in a long time.
Photo cred here
As you wander down Ocean View Drive your first glance sees the white wooden front, a single chained hanging black sign announcing itself as “The Oyster Inn”. The white exterior gives way to their ramped entryway leading up to hotel and shop on the right, kitchen on the left, and the restaurant wraps around to a delicate, yet elegant span of road front seating, looking out over the water. Navy couches scatter themselves among the light blue tabletops, brown chairs and bar stool seating stand in contrast to the white walls. Out on the patio however is the spot to be as the sun gleams in perfectly over the shore. The service was on point. The nautical theme of the restaurant was matched with the uniforms and the relaxed expression of their staff. Our waiter was so chilled out it made us feel at home, calm, he knew how to crack the right jokes at the right times and was above and beyond attentive to every detail. This bled through every facet of the Oyster Inn. Their attention to detail was impeccable, but they’re never flustered about it. Being a bit of an institution there’s a touch of experience shed on every plating and every service.
Photo cred here
This brings us to the food. Being waterfront, and island based, the freshness of their ingredients is first and foremost their point of pride. It’s clear they love their seafood- we started with their oysters (you kind of have to), Orongo Bay Oysters fresh out of Russell, served with lemon, chardonnay vinegar and shallots. They were spot on. Following the seafood we went for their Kingfish Nicoise- quite simply a very generous steak of succulent Kingfish fresh off the hook, settled on a bed of Nicoise salad doused in olive oil balancing the rocket, olives, tomato, and potato nicely. We also tried the roast mushroom and Kikorangi blue tart, with chicory, watercress and cherry vinegar. We definitely were impressed by the servings- the mushroom tart was packed full of the Kikorangi blue. The afternoon topped off with the most heavily loaded mojitos I’ve ever tasted, packed with mint and limes, I really couldn’t fault it.
If you’re ever making your way across the way to Waiheke, make sure you make it for a long lunch down at the Oyster Inn. There’s not much of a better spot to sit and drink the afternoon away with some decent drink, along with some amazing tucker and fantastic service. Make sure you ask to be served by Buster. The Oyster Inn is definitely worth checking out.
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