Address: Goldwater Estate, 18 Causeway Road, Surfdale
Phone: 09 372 7493
Cuisine: Casual vineyard dining
Open: Fri, Sat & Sun 11am 4pm
Looking for somewhere to while away one of the recent sunny afternoons, I head to Waiheke Island where, after a short bus trip from the ferry, I found myself at Goldie Estate - home to the Goldie Room vineyard cafe and tasting room.
Here you'll find an original kauri villa, beautifully restored, sitting comfortably on the land overlooking Putiki Bay. A newer, modest building houses the cafe, all light and airy and free-flowing, with patio seating spilling out on to the lawn.
The vineyard cafe is a joint venture between two couples - Jason and Christine Schwarz and Heinrich and Leslie Storm - we loved their relaxed, friendly style of service.
The shared platters which comprise most of the menu are a pleasant cut above the usual deli style selection and more like an assembly of small meals. Recommended for two people, the $39 price made these an affordable way to enjoy some casual vineyard dining. The menu also features soup, select sandwiches (think steak, blue cheese and caramelised onion or salmon and caper aioli), fries and, rather intriguingly, edamame beans. Piping hot and tossed in salt and sesame oil they were among the best I've sampled.
The Waiheke resident joining me for lunch opted for the roasted red pepper and fennel soup and a spoonful of this had me swooning - well-seasoned, and the roast on the red peppers enough to flavour, but not overpower, the fennel.
Two platters for two people was undoubtedly greedy but we rationalised it by vowing to take any leftovers home. The Zell platter was based around seafood and cheeses. Hot smoked Aoraki salmon came with coleslaw, and what a great combo. Prawns were served glazed in ginger with a sweet kumara, orange and pistachio salad. A happy collision of taste and texture.
The featured cheeses were a citrusy, grilled feta and a generous wedge of strong, creamy Gibbston Valley brie that was served at exactly the right temperature to ensure maximum gooeyness. Slightly out of place were the bacon-wrapped mussels which were served with a three-cheese pasticcio which was underwhelming. Made with orzo, this pasta bake lacked sufficient flavour and was too firm to be anything special.
Our other platter, The Goldie, was more of a meat lover's treat. The rare roast beef was pink, tender and well-salted. Though I've sworn off pork belly (tired of seeing it on nearly every menu in town) I couldn't resist the morsels offered here - generous squares served on tasty lentil and herb fritters. The honey roasted beets and feta were divine. The beets were soft and juicy and the sharp feta was a perfect foil for the honey.
The only letdown was the mini venison and mushroom pies, which were overcooked. A small bowl of labne - essentially yoghurt, strained to create a creamy, sour cheese - was thick and moreish.
We ordered a sweet platter to finish, again promising ourselves that any leftovers could be ferried away. The hazelnut and chocolate torte, more labne, this time sweet and served with berries and palmiers, and a duo of rich chocolate truffles were all devoured. We left The Goldie Room with our hearts full of hope for the golden days of summer that we felt had just edged closer.
From the menu: Roast red pepper & fennel soup $12.50, Edamame beans $6, Platters for 2+ - Goldie (meat) and Zell (seafood) $39 each, Sweet platter for two $19.
Drinks: Fully licensed.