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By Stephen Heard
April 23, 2015
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Casita Miro

A Waihetian treasure.
By Stephen Heard
April 23, 2015
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Casita Miro is (just quietly) one of the best restaurants on Waiheke; although thanks to some booming word of mouth and glorious online attention, it's no longer a secret and you'll need to book.

The glasshouse-like structure is located on the 20-odd year-old Miro vineyard owned by Cat Vosper and Barnett Bond. Inside, a combination of tables in close proximity, the sharing menu, encouragement to use your fingers, genuine staff members and the island's relaxed attitudes towards drinking, result in a social atmosphere like no other. It's noisy yet elegant.

As well as tipping their hat to Barcelona artist Joan Miro, the restaurant can thank the entire region of Spain and the wider Mediterranean Rim for inspiring their well-honed tapas menu; and the locals for much of the produce. While the age-old tradition doesn't give you an instant plate of food, you'll be treated to a large range of the menu and will leave extremely satisfied.

The pork belly melts in your mouth, while still coming out of the kitchen with the sought after crispy top; the market fish paella, snapper on this occasion, will have you fighting over the last smear of saffron-infused sauce; and the harissa coated roast potatoes will fill out your meal, while adding a nice point of difference to the classic side. Then there's the ridiculously fresh local Te Mataku oysters which can be ordered by the dozen and come served with sherry vinegar; the spirit is a main feature of the drinks menu. Elsewhere, there are wine blends from the Miro vineyard, a handful of craft beers, and the usual suspects.

A grassy slope outside provides an even more relaxed seating alternative. Miniature drink rests have been built for you to lean your wine while you gain some shade underneath the olive trees and take in views across the Hauraki Gulf. The signature 'Long Madame Rouge' cocktail or homemade sangria is also a treat to help you cool down on a hot day.

The outdoor area also plays host to a evolving mosaic-work inspired by Gaudi's Parc Guell, and I'm not sure if this was a regular occurrence, but an array of hula hoops lay unmanned on the grass. They provide quality entertainment for those with a few wines under the belt.

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