Images ILK. PHOTOGRAPHY
If this past year has taught us anything it’s to appreciate what we have here. And that doesn’t just mean in New Zealand but in our own region.
Tourism BOP Marketing Manager Loretta Crawford and her team have been working on a project to inspire locals to be the region’s tour guides; for locals to get out there and discover, enjoy and experience what we have to offer and thus be able to shout it from the rooftops.
One of the initiatives has been a map, dubbed Dine on a Lime; a handy guide highlighting some sensational stops on a foodie tour of the Mount, all easily accessible on a Lime scooter.
Whether you jump on a Lime, put on your walking shoes, use pedal power or take the car, why not take a leaf out of their book and tackle the trail. Rediscover old favourites, experience something new and add in your own highlights. Here are just a few to get you started.
Tay Street Store
Tay Street Store is arguably the cutest little cafe and store in Mount Maunganui, with a big emphasis on supporting sustainably-focused, local suppliers (and fuelling coffee lovers with a Mt Atkinson roast).
Originally from Hamilton, owner Steph Meaden spent 20 years holidaying in the Mount and Pāpāmoa before she and her husband, Sam, made the move to the Bay from Auckland for a different life. “The Mount always felt like an extension of home,” says Steph. “It’s such a beautiful, relaxing place to live.”
With a lifetime love for good food and coffee, Steph and Sam moved to Mount Maunganui, purchased Tay Street Dairy which they fitted into a store, and set about sourcing local and sustainably-focused products. Word soon spread and their network grew. “We realised the amount of local small business talent here and all over New Zealand, and love working with these people. Supporting other businesses is really important to us,” says Steph.
In addition to some epic local products, including Salt Bags (compostable nappy and dog waste bags), Sandbank smoothies, and Mount sourdough, Tay Street Store has fresh baking delivered daily from Mel at Wildflour. Her banana bread and cinnamon buns are crowd favourites.
Steph and Sam love being in the Mount and the lifestlye it enables them to live with their daughter Rumi and dog, Captain. “The environment helps eliminates life’s stresses. We put in the mahi and enjoy the lifestyle we’ve created through small business.”
Marco Fabrin has had a lifelong love for pizza. Born in Italy, Marco came to New Zealand at the end of 2009 and has spent most of the last 10 years in Mount Maunganui, working in local food markets and as a private chef.
Now, with his wife Daiana who has been his “right hand” through all his New Zealand culinary adventures, Marco is showcasing his work ethic and incredible culinary skills at his own pizza place, Pizzaroma, in Mount Maunganui—and it has customers coming back for more.
One of the stand-out favourites is the ham and mushroom pizza, something that delights Marco. “That has been my favourite since I was a child. I think I have passed my love of this taste to the customer. It’s a traditional combo of Italian tastes, that’s why I think people love it so much.”
The pizza dough itself is a secret recipe, refined by Marco’s years as a chef in Italy and most of the ingredients are sourced from his home country. “This product is different to a normal pizza. It has a longer fermentation, lower calories, lower in fat and lighter than a common pizza.
“We use the best we can find, not the second choice. Customers come back to tell me they love the pizza. They love the taste.” But Marco says he hasn’t perfected his recipe yet. “The hours I work are so many, and it’s easy to give up without the passion. Dedication is one of the secret ingredients. Never stop studying and finding something new.”
Blending it in the Bay
Fusion Coffee are a true local favourite, and that’s just the way they like it.
Run by Fiona and Murray Linton, the coffee roastery, store and cafe has been providing locally roasted brews and coffee beans for 21 years. Based on Totara Street in Mount Maunganui, people can sit back and chill in the funky warehouse-style premises, enjoy their Fusion Coffee and watch the beans being roasted onsite.
“It’s a great place to have a meeting,” says Fiona. “People also love to come here to buy their beans, see the roasting process and to talk to the staff. We enjoy the banter with customers.”
Fiona, who has lived in the Bay for 36 years, is Fusion’s roaster. Together with her team she has created blends with true local flavour, like the full-bodied medium roast Arataki, or the Matakana blend with smooth hints of rich chocolate, vanilla and spiced apple notes.
“We want to be the port of call for the Bay’s coffee drinkers. We love bringing coffee beans from all over the world to the Bay and blending them for locals to enjoy right here.
“We’re just here for people who like good, fresh coffee.”
Mount Made Ice Cream
Deb and Glenn Stubbs from Mount Made Ice Cream can turn anything into a magical dessert.
In just four months, the little ice cream store based in downtown Mount Maunganui has been pumping out some pretty big flavours—and has quickly won the hearts of locals.
Deb grew up in Tauranga while Glenn came to the Bay from West Auckland over a decade ago.
The pair have spent their careers in hospitality, both overseas and at home. Glenn is a chef who loves to play around with ingredients and flavours.
“Glenn is the ‘get it done’ person and he loves experimenting,” says Deb. “I’m more of a ‘think it over’ person, so I’m the chief taster and critic.”
Much of what they use is sourced locally, like berries from Sommerfield’s, tea from Webster’s, chocolate from Solomon’s Gold and kiwifruit from Zespri. And then there is the super-local produce.
“People are often calling us up offering leftover fruit which we can quickly make into a sorbet. We have a yearly tangelo juicing session from Mum’s tree, and we can’t wait for feijoa season!” says Deb.
Doughnuts are also on the menu, inspired by Glenn’s time in Sweden. And for those after a savoury treat, Mount Made’s toasties are quickly becoming legendary in their own right.
But the ice cream is the main game, and the menu is always changing. “We have some customers that come in for their regular favourites, but others come in just to see what we’ve come up with,” says Glenn.
“We try and balance the classic with the seasonal,” adds Deb. “Everything is hand-crafted, very much made by us, right here. And we’re always up for suggestions on new flavours.”
For five years, Kat and Ryan Dippie dreamed of opening a contemporary steakhouse with great food and superb service—now that dream is a reality. The Bay locals are the owners of Fife Lane, a chic eatery nestled in the industrial zone of central Mount Maunganui.
Outfitted in elegant black, white and wood design with an open kitchen, the restaurant has burst onto the Bay’s dining scene in a big way, quickly becoming known for its great food and genuine hospitality. “People love the food and drink, but they also love our service,” says Kat. “We really know our products and want people to have an overall experience.”
Diners can watch the chefs cooking their steak on the Mibrasa: a rare, closed barbeque oven invented in Spain. And if people can’t fit in a dessert, they can have a cocktail—like the lemon meringue pie: limoncello, Stolichnaya citrus vodka, vanilla liqueur, lemon, cream, sugar, and meringue. “The cocktails have become quite a talking point,” says Kat. “We’ve wanted to have this restaurant forever. There’s nothing like it here in the Bay; we saw a gap in the market and went for it.”
It was over a bowl of ramen in Hong Kong that creative foodie inspiration struck.
Liam Millard and Ryan Christensen were travelling overseas for the Rugby Sevens and had stopped for a meal and a beer at a Japanese Izakaya.
As they were eating pork ramen they got to talking about pork and watercress (boil up) from Aotearoa and the thought came to them—Māori Japanese fusion.
The friends, both born and raised in the Bay of Plenty, then developed the concept into a wholly original dining experience—Izakai Bar and Eatery.
“When people come in, they feel like they’re the first ones to discover it,” says Ryan.
“When they get that first dish sat in front of them, like the ika mata—fresh yellow fin tuna, with coconut pana cotta, fish roe and passionfruit dressing—and then they’re like ‘wow, okay I was expecting something very different’.”
The paua and prawn gyoza is another popular dish. “When people try that, we often hear them say that’s the best gyoza they’ve had in their life.”
“The discovery is fun for people and fun for us. We want people to ask about the menu and our servers are given the knowledge to answer the questions,” says Liam.
Once people discover Izakai, they often return. With Izakai’s popularity well and truly established, Ryan and Liam are working on their next move.
“Let’s just say we want to bring our gyoza to more people,” says Ryan.
“The fun part is when people take their first bite. It blows their minds. We hope it’s down to Liam and I being so passionate about what we do.”