Waiheke Island's go-to winery and restaurant Cable Bay has introduced a new outdoor kitchen to run apace with its lavish indoor sibling. While the space has always been fixture of the winery and a regular seating area for visitors, it now boasts a title 'The Verandah' and an equally carefree menu. Led by a wood-fired oven, the kitchen pumps out smoke-tinged pizzas, and sharing plates that retain the presentation and sophisticated flavours of The Dining Room, without the price tag.
The specials list currently boasts two wood-fired pizzas - a classic margarita ($20) and chorizo with jalapenos and spring onion ($28) - along with wood-fired bluenose ($35). While it treads a fine line of being too salty, the fish and accompanying crispy potato cake managed to avoid slipping over the edge into sodium overload and left us begging for another fork full; and all the more thirsty for the wine list. While Waiheke island is predominantly known for its red varietals, we went with a 2013 Chardonnay and the stand-out Viognier. We also managed to twist the waiters arm to let us try a glass of the outstanding 2013 Syrah, usually only available by the bottle.
As the wine flowed, we treated ourselves to further items from the menu including slow cooked lamb shoulder - given a kick with spicy harrissa and a generous serving of mint, and pumpkin hummus with dukkah and flatbread. The remainder of the menu is made up of fresh salads and seafood, cured meat and local cheeses. The dessert list is spearheaded by macarons ($4) and house-made ice-cream and sorbet ($8), which come in a range of intriguing flavours: medjool date, honey roasted fig, barley malt, buttermilk.
With far-reaching views of the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland skyline, The Verandah has possibly one of the best views on the island to enjoy lunch. The sheltered floor space is bordered by comfortable bench seating and plenty of tables, most of which were occupied in this instance. You'll also have to be quick to nab a bean bag on the flat grassy expanse to make the most of the afternoon sun.
All that, plus its only a short trip from Oneroa or the ferry terminal.