Waiheke Island Yacht Club (SF)
Does anyone know if Waiheke Island Yacht Club is open yet. I have a reservation for later in the month but was wondering if they did a soft open or promo events?
Earlier this month I dropped into Waiheke Island Yacht Club in time for happy hour.
From 4pm to 6pm daily, the bar menu offers Tasting Plate of New Zealand, $18, that includes a bottle of Moa Methode beer too.
The board includes three Coromandel Oysters with wasabi sorbet and lime. The oysters were plump and in good condition, not as sweet as our local bivalves. The tangy and piquant ice was a nice complement.
Citrus-cured Mount Cook Alpine Salmon was cut into a thick dice and flecked with teeny snipped chives, capers, and fennel. The farmed salmon’s firm, leanish, and mild in flavor. The chopped salmon was piled on a slice of Acme levain smeared with what seemed like cream cheese. The menu said “yoghurt”, maybe it was labne.
Hawkes Bay Cervena venison tartare was my favorite of the sampler, maybe because it was the most unusual. Seasoned with horseradish and chives, then served in a puddle of soy sauce-flavored cream, my first impression was that the flavorants overtook the venison. But it started to grow on me, and I liked the bite of the daikon spouts and especially the deep-fried nori chip.
While the prices are on the high side here, I was pleased with my food and the value provided in this sampler + beer. I hope to get back there before it ends this run.
More photos of WIYC,
More about the beer,
Sunday I watched Oracle’s victory in Race 9 of the America’s Cup Final from Coit Tower.
I ambled down the Greenwich Steps to the waterfront to see the next race on the big screens. When Emirates/New Zealand sailed in for the win and the spectators ran to the finish line to greet them, I instead hustled over to Waiheke Island Yacht Club to beat the crowd.
At 3:30-ish there were seats in the bar, but the dining room was fully reserved though mostly empty at that moment. The hostess offered me a spot at the long communal table.
This was ideal for me as a solo diner, sitting right in front of the open kitchen.
New since my last visit, the list now includes some New Zealand wines.
I ordered a glass of the 2011 Mount Beautiful Canterbury Pinot Noir, $13.
At this time of day, the “100% NZ Beef and Lamb Burger”, $15 was popular and the kitchen was cranking out a steady stream of them. Approximately a 60:40 beef-to-lamb ratio, the thick patties were fried on the flat-top. The bottom of the sesame-seeded Panorama bun was spread thickly with a creamy paste of NZ’s Kikorangi Blue cheese, then a layer of roasted beet slices, chunky smoked tomato chutney, and layers of iceberg lettuce. I picked up a trick by watching this ---the leaves of iceberg were cracked along the spine then folded neatly into quarters.
Resting on this stack of veggies, the thick burger patty. Crowned with a runny-yolked fried egg, it’s seasoned with a sprinkle of Maldon salt. The top of the griddled bun’s swabbed generously with thick, rich aioli.
The top bun’s held in place at a jaunty angle with a bamboo skewer, and here’s how it’s presented.
This side view shows the layers more clearly. Ordered “medium”, the patty sported some sear marks and the center of the patty was pink and juicy.
Too large to tackle as a handheld sandwich, this burger was initially attacked with a fork and knife. Not easy to get a little bit of everything into one mouthful. The first couple tastes, lamby-ness dominated the flavor profile. Yet, after the newness wore off, the other components became more prominent. Egg + blue cheese was not a good combination for me. To make it more palatable, as well as easier to eat, I peeled off the fried egg to the aioli-smeared top bun to eat of hand. The balance of the burger was easier to manage open-faced too.
For dessert, lemon verbena curd, pineapple, licorice sorbet, lychee, $15. I’d consulted with my server before choosing, and she recommended this highly with the caveat that one needs to like licorice. If this plate had been presented to me unlabeled, I’m not sure that I could have ID’d the components based on sight alone. Even with the list of ingredients, I still needed some help in figure it out, and that appealed to me. Besides the fresh lychee, the crunchy peach colored chicharron-wannabe was an airy freeze-dried lychee. Light and crisp triangles of freeze-dried pineapple composed a shelf on top of foundation blocks of compressed mango and pineapple. Compressing the cubes of tropical fruits amp’d up the intensity of both color and flavor. It was fascinating to compare the changes created by removing air by compression with the new texture created by increasing air pockets by freeze-drying. The luscious curd tasted only faintly of lemon verbena. Though not a big fan of licorice, I found the mild tone of the sorbet manageable and interesting. Filling in the plate was a dry powder of savory green herbs that was unpleasantly gritty juxtaposed with the creamy elements. And a tiny bit of coarse granita was a final texture contrast. Quite an intellectual offering, and delicious too. I feel I got my money’s worth entertainment-wise.
Service again was very good, and the staff handled my questions about sourcing and methods easily. I learned that the restaurant will continue here into December. One staff member confided that they’re actually looking forward to the conclusion of the race and the return to more fine dining instead of lunch and bar snacks.
Also wanted to point out that the restrooms are adjacent in a trailer, and the nicest ones at the park. This is the type used at toney events in Sonoma wine country equipped with ventilation and a real sink. But the facilities are up a couple steps and not wheelchair accessible.
More lunch photos,
I went last night at 8pm reservation for 4 people.
Entering I was overwhelmed with the smell of the bathrooms. Well its the smell over really strong air freshener covering up the smell of the bathrooms. Once I entered the dinning area, the smell was gone.
I like the space. Interesting, smart, simple.
I have mixed feelings about the experience and food.
We ordered a dozen oysters: they were great! however they arrived after our second course...even though we ordered them 20 min before ordering our second course.
For the second course that arrived first I had the Duck. Smoked Duck Breast, liver parfait, apricot, plum, hazelnuts & brown butter. 20.
Very good, very rich. It was not easy to slice the duck. The flavours were spot on and the liver was excellent
Next up was the Lamb. This arrived 45 minutes after we finished our oysters/second course. This is the point that I noticed there is no floor manager. Our server basically stayed far away from our table while we waited the 45 min. I really wanted to order another drink while we waited, however it was clear he wouldn't even look in our direction.
The server doesn't cook our food. I can't blame him for the lag. However in those situations communication is essential. Be proactive, be on the offense. Approach us, tell us what is going on, offer us something while we wait. nope.
Once our food arrived we were really ready to give up and leave. The lamb was great. Not sure if there was squid ink on it, but I dont know any other liquid that is jet black. Flavours were wonderful, although very rich. ‘Silere Merino’ Lamb Rump, charcoal, olive, parsley & feta. 32.
Another point of service, we were celebrating a birthday. I made a note of it when I made the reservation. no mention, no candle/dessert, nothing. Maybe its not a NZ thing to do things for tables when its a birthday.
I have never been to NZ. I do wonder if that pace is normal down there. Overall no sense of urgency, no real care or concern, even in the open kitchen there were cooks on their cell phones. No one was driving this bus.
summed up: Food good but rich. Service could improve greatly.
Whoa, that's a bunch of service problems. Glad you liked the food at least, but at these prices, you should certainly get a better experience. I've only been in between meal times to order from the bar menu.
Re: jet black . . . the ingredient list includes charcoal, so that's likely where the color derives.