Here are a couple of our top picks for great places to visit, and eat, this summer in the BOP.
Set in the peaceful McLaren Falls Park, Falls Café is a family business. Mum, Miranda Campbell, a skilled bread maker heads the kitchen turning out beautiful dishes driven by fresh seasonal produce.
Daughter Harriet makes all the tempting sweet treats that fill the cabinet daily. “All our cakes are made from scratch” says Harriet who also admits “they are different and often indulgent.” Alice, another daughter, completes this hard working trio and is the team’s barista.
The family took over, the then failing business, in 2011 and have done a fantastic job at turning it around. Harriet says “we all love what we do and strive to give the customers a great personal experience.”
McLaren Falls Park is a nature’s wonderland the whole family will enjoy visiting again and again. With trout fishing, glow worms, one of the best botanical collection of trees in the North Island, many walking and cycling tracks plus and plenty of safe swimming spots you won’t need an excuse to visit. And with the wonderful café at the centre everyone will be pleased, whether it’s an hour visit of a couple of nights.
The café also makes for a wonderful venue for private functions from weddings to birthday parties with personalised menus created specifically for you.
140 McLaren Falls Road, McLaren Falls park, Omanawa
Inside the amazing Experience Comvita at the home of Comvita’s head office in Paengaroa you will find Café Restore.
Experience Comvita is the only place in the world where, in absolute safety, you can enter a virtual beehive to learn the fascinating facts about bees and nature’s intelligence. Immerse yourself in a unique voyage of discovery, see the world through the eyes of the amazing honeybee and be reminded of nature’s wisdom.
Café Restore continues the overall theme of Comvita as a place to reconnect and restore. The café is light and bright with many quirky bee themed influences, a highlight being the beehive inspired wall.
The food is influenced by the abundance of quality local ingredients. With an emphasis on freshness you will feel like you are eating wellness. Try one of their delicious smoothies; the Buzzy Bee is a mix of organic milk, bee pollen and Manuka honey, the Cherry Chocolate Delight is made with cherries, banana, Manuka honey, cocoa powder and almond milk.
Enjoy a gourmet ice cream or fair trade coffee while you sit amongst the Manuka grove or wander around the new community kitchen garden. Or pre order one of their picnic or bento boxes to take away while you continue to explore the area.
23 Wilson Road South, Paengaroa, Te Puke
Just over a year ago Helen Thornton and Darren Gussy opened Delissi in Mount Maunganui. The couple are revelling in the move to the BOP from Hamilton and this is reflected in what they have achieved in just over a year. Delissi was recently named one of the top ten restaurants in Tauranga by the Culture Trip.
Darren who heads the kitchen is enjoying being able to cook food he loves. Helen describes the food as “simple food cooked with lots of flavour.” But what sets Delissi apart is their unique concept of small plates. We are not talking Tapas here; instead the entire menu is made up of entrée size dishes. This means you don’t have to choose between the chicken and beef, you can have both. Two dishes equates to 1 main, so you could even choose three and still fit dessert in. Darren loves how this style of menu allows him the freedom to be more creative.
Complimenting Darren’s menu is a carefully crafted drinks list full of boutique wines and craft beers. Following the theme with the food, several of the wines are available in tasting glass sizes meaning you can match your wine perfectly with each dish without the risk of overindulging. It’s also a great way to discover a new wine!
Delissi are open for Brunch, lunch, Devonshire tea and dinner five days a week, so there are plenty of opportunities this summer to pop in and enjoy.
Pacific Ave, Mt Maunganui
Nestled in the Karangahake Gorge is a magical spot. As you emerge from the long steep drive, if you aren’t already on holiday, you will feel like you suddenly are.
Award winning chef, Brad King and wife Emma have gained an outstanding reputation and it is not uncommon to hear of people making the journey to the Gorge from far and wide just to dine at Falls Retreat.
Brads domain is the open kitchen with the wood fired oven at its centre and it is from here that dishes like Slow roasted free range pork belly served with twice baked kumara soufflé, apple, orange & cardamom compote and a fragrant cabbage, baby fennel and herb slaw or cured house smoked salmon with potato, herb and goats cheese croquettes emerge.
The menu has an emphasis on fresh local produce, some of it even emerging from the kitchen garden, literally right next door to the kitchen. Other come from a little further away like Harmony meats in Paeroa or Thomas’s ice cream, made just a few k’s up the road in Waihi.
If you are after a casual lunch you can’t go past a wood fired pizza under the sprawling fig tree. And with the stunning Owharoa falls at the bottom of the drive, the Karangahake gorge and rail trail all just a stone’s throw away it would be easy to make a day of it.
If its dinner, you won’t be disappointed! Brad won a NZ Beef & Lamb Award in 2014 for the second consecutive year and with dishes like Harmony organic wood fired eye fillet of beef with a potato, thyme, parmesan & pancetta terrine, a cauliflower, cherry tomato & micro-cress salad, parmesan sable and red wine jus you can see why. The wine list is well thought out and another sign of the care and attention to detail this couple pour into Falls Retreat & Bistro.
25 Waitawheta Road