11 Matakana Valley Rd, Matakana
Ph (09) 422 7518
The last time I was here, I couldn't get a drink and swore I'd never darken its doorway again.
But then I saw it had changed hands and even won awards, so when I was in the area I decided to have a drink and see how much things had changed.
The answer is unclear. It looks great, with some nice new flesh on the pub's old bones and the outdoor areas are spacious and comfortable. The drinks selection looks a lot better than it did, too and the food is fine.
The service is another matter. It took a while to get a drink, even though the bar wasn't particularly busy.
I suspect they may have twigged as to what I do, however, as the service suddenly went from being a bit patchy to being overwhelming to the point of suffocation. At one point we had three people asking whether we were enjoying our meals - a tad disconcerting, but also quite endearing.
The two drinks we ordered first were unavailable, which raised memories of a bar I visited in Mt Eden that had no beer at all, but it turned out in Matakana's case it was simply unfortunate that neither the cider nor the Emerson's Bookbinder were in stock.
Still, we did find something to drink easily enough (there is a good craft beer selection and a great wine list) and settled in for a very nice feed. The chips are particularly good, being big, fat things cooked to perfection and so moreish - in fact, I can almost taste them now.
Overall, it's a major improvement on where the pub was and it's a real bonus for Matakana to have a decent pub that offers good food and a quiet drink in pleasant surroundings, so well done to the new owners. I'll certainly be calling in again.