Day 2 of my time in Hawkes Bay started with a nice cup ‘o tea on the balcony.
For something more substanial J and I headed into Napier and to Mister D, where we sat outside in the courtyard. J had enjoyed a very good duck sausage and lentils here the night before I arrived so he was keen for me to have a look.
If you liked fried eggs than this is the place to be, it is the only way they do them. No idea why, but if you like your eggs poached or boiled you are out of luck.
J went for eggs (fried of course), bacon and a serve of beans.
I had the beans with ham hock.
After breakfast we went for another walk around the town, checking out the buildings and all the art deco bits and piecs available for purchase, including some fabulous hats!
There was also a farmer’s market. If we had been staying a bit longer I am sure we would have brought quiet a bit of fresh produce here.
As you can probably tell from the blue skies in all my photos, we had amazing weather. Sunny and mid twenties or warmer, just perfect.
Our next stop was Cape Kidnappers, named because the Maori people tried to kidnap one of Captain Cook’s crew in 1769.
There is a gannet (large seabird) colony here, but you need to take a four hour tractor tour or do a long walk to see them and we did not have time.
We did however, want to check out the famous Cape Kidnappers golf course (on J’s bucket list to play a round here) and also the luxury resort. We got as far as the gate.
The gate is lcoked and you have to talk to someone through the intercom to gain admission. We could see cattle on the hill and a sign said something about a farm, so I suspect the road goes through private property, hence the locked gate (and to keep the cows in). It also stops all the sticky beaks (us included!).
We still had some time to kill before our lunch booking so we visited the British Car Museuem. This collection to everything in the British Automobile world is housed in a huge shed and to enter you blow the horn…
The owner comes out, you give him your money and he sends you off in a clock-wise direction to look at over 300 cars and trucks.
We were the only ones in there and I found it a little creepy and was worried we would never find our way out! It was a pretty amazing collection though and if you are into cars you should check it out.
Time for lunch at the gorgeous Elephant Hill winery, right across the road from the beach.
We sat outside and I could easily imagine wasting the afternoon away on one of those couches with a wine or three.
We did a tasting so we knew what to have with our lunch, J went with a rose and I had a sav blanc.
Fresh baked bread with olive oil and butter.
For entree J had the saku tuna and akaroa salmon sashimi, avocado cream and soy pearls.
And I had the Angus carpaccio, horseradish whip, black garlic, rocket and parmesan.
Too much horseradish for my liking, it overpowered everything else and I left most of it on the plate.
For main course we both had the olive and rosemary crusted lamb rack, parsnip gratin, merlot battered sweetbreads, lemon caper butter.
There wasn’t a heap of meat on the racks but it was good, and the sweetbreads were crunchy.
We went from deciding on no dessert, to sharing one, to ordering two! This says a lot about the dessert menu, out of five options we were tempted by four.
This one was the pick, the lemon posset, yoghurt sorbet, crushed meringue, candy citrus zest.
Tangy and refreshing.
Our second pick was the rocky road roulade, raspberry ice cream, Valrhona jellies.
J had a look at the art gallery and I tasted two of their wines before we headed back to our hotel to relax and watch some cricket.
Dinner that evening was at The Emporium Eatery and Bar in the Masonic Hotel.
We were a little early for our reservation but we sat at the bar and had a drink, with the Italian bartender quite excited that J wanted a negroni. This guy was new as he was being shown the ropes, but he was very keen, coming over to our table twice (once we sat down) to check how our drinks were.
We moved into a side room for dinner.
We had already scoped the menu at the bar so knew what we wanted to order. As we had had a three course lunch we didn’t want any massive main dishes so chose four of the share plates. These plates are priced at NZ$15 each or four for NZ$56, or NZ$75 will get you four plates and a pizza.
We ordered our dishes and the waitress brought out side plates for us. The top one had a chip in it and the one underneath it was dirty. Once we got someone’s attention we sent them back.
The first dish to arrive was the chickpea coated calamari, fragrant spices and curry aioli.
We also had the quinoa croquettes, Hohepa garlic and herb quark, smoked tomato relish and watercress.
Hands down the best croquettes I have had (and I have had a few!). I think the fact that they weren’t the usual potato and cheese combination was what made them so good.
More drinks were required by this stage and I had a Raspberry Mule (Smirnoff Red vodka, fresh lime juice, pureed raspberries and ginger beer) which was presented in this vessel.
Food wise there was the Hawkes Bay lamb sliders with hummus and mint yoghurt.
These could have done with a bit more flavour.
And finally we had the hoisin glazed duck, coriander pancake and julienne vegetables.
My dislike of do-it-yourself food immediatley put me off, and there was only two pancakes, which made for one large hard-to-handle portion each. I much preferred the version at Cable Bay winery.
After dinner we walked back to our hotel, not wanting to repeat the taxi debacle of the night before.
Our last morning in Napier started with some much needed exercsie. We drove into Napier and while J went for a run along the foreshore I did a few laps of the pool at Ocean Spa. It is a great complex but NZ$10 for 25 minutes of lap swimming is a bit steep.
After getting back to the hotel and getting packed and organsied, we had breakfast at Milk and Honey, the restaurant attached to the Crown Hotel. J had eaten here on his first night in town, and it was always busy whenever we went past.
Just in case your food doesn’t have enough flavour, you can always add rocket fuel!
Service was slow and we noticed that people who had ordered after us got their food before we did. Just as we were about to query the whereabouts of our breakafst I spotted it being put up on the pass.
I have a bit of a thing for bagels so really liked the sound of the bagel with homemade smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, ricotta cheese and spring onion, except for the salmon part. However, the waitress said they would do it without the salmon.
After breakfast we went back into town to have a look at a market J had seen on his run. It was the usual bric-a-brac and stuff so no purchases were made. But one guy did offer us a free bottle of his home made garden fertiliser! He was spruiking it to everyone who walked past and I commented that we wouldn’t be able to get it back into Australia and he thought this was great and that he would give us a bottle so he could then watch us on Border Patrol!
It was then time to head to Napier airport. We were both on Air New Zealand flights, J to the South Island and me to Auckland to get my flight home to Melbourne.
The Koru club at Napier is small and not staffed. To enter you swipe your boarding pass over a scanner and if you are eligible to enter, a four digit code flashes on the small screen. This is the code for the door.
Punch the code in correctly and the door unlocks. Remember the code as you will need it again if you go out. And if you need to use the bathroom you will need to go out, as there are no bathroom facilities in the lounge, you need to go downstairs and use the public bathrooms.
The food and drink are self-service and there is a decent amount of seating and free wi-fi.
We only had about 30 minutes before J’s flight was called. I was sad to see his plane taxi away from the terminal.
It was soon my turn and it was a quick hop up to Auckland, with tea, coffee and water being served (no biscuits on this flight).
I made the walk over to the international terminal and checked in, and as I was flying business class was able to clear immigration in the Qantas business check-in area before heading upstairs to go through security (additional screening with a wand included) and then into the Qantas Business lounge to hang out before my flight.