When friends suggested we have dinner at the pub after cycling the Paeroa to Waihi rail trail, I expected a very good meal of, say, steak burger and chips. Instead, I had the best restaurant meal I can remember in the past decade! The restaurant has been thoroughly and delightfully refurbished and now managed by the Auckland-based 'Hip Group.' I knew nothing about this group before the meal; I've studied up on it since. Briefly, its principals aim to bring 'world class' fining dining to Auckland and, now, Waihi Beach (see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10859203). Four of us had absolutely outstanding mains. Two of us had the lamb dish, one the pan fried snapper, and the other the Zucchini salad. For desert, I had the walnut cake with washed rind cheese, rewarewa honey and bee pollen. Delicious! I can't really do justice the food; for a comprehensive review see Viva, 5 February 2014 (see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/viva-magazine/news/article.cfm?c_id=533&objectid=11196518). The wine list was short, very good, and not outrageously priced; we had the Kumeu Village Chardonnay. This may be Kumeu River's most modest and cheapest Chardonnay, but it is still very good and went well with our meals. Tip: A visit to Waihi Beach is worthwhile, see the Viva review (also 5/Feb14) of the area. In addition, the table servers were very friendly, well informed about the food and wine, and attentive to customers' needs. The outdoor seating was comfortable and pleasant; the restaurant even provided wraps for those who were a bit cold.
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