Barely an hour north of Auckland lies the Matakana Village, something of a weekend mecca for city dwellers on the run from their usually hectic lives.
The eggs Benedict, sweet corn fritters and the big breakfast are perennial favourites, and the new winter menu includes seafood chowder, beef cheeks, and creamy garlicky mushrooms. Or try the Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake stuffed with shrimp and cabbage! The food really is delicious and the staff are friendly and helpful, especially the baristas who serve the most excellent coffee. In fact, this is a hard place not to linger for another cup or two, particularly if you’ve found one of the sunnier spots inside the cafe.
With a capacious carpark, even in the height of summer when visitor numbers swell, you will most likely find a spot for your vehicle. Naturally, summer is the best time to enjoy the beautifully kept surrounding gardens with plenty of tables to choose from, but hardier folk have been known to dine alfresco all year round. Clearly, someone works hard to maintain these outdoor areas, even when the weather gods frown. High Tea is available at the cafe, served in the finest tradition, and great value at $65 for two people. This is available weekdays, and for groups of eight or more after 2pm on weekends – but do bear in mind that bookings are essential at all times for this little people pleaser.
Bakery items are well displayed and a wide selection of scrumptious food is offered aplenty. Be sure to beat the locals to the goodies as they seem to fly off the shelf. If you’re taking something home, it might be an idea to order it at the same time you order your food, and pop it in your car before you eat! All of the breads are hand made without any preservatives by a baker with years of experience in Europe. There are no packaged whites here.
You should also know that five minutes south by car from Matakana township, Plume Restaurant is positioned on a gentle ridge on Sharp Road. Plume Restaurant is acknowledged as a great dining experience and is a favourite haunt for both locals and visiting food and wine aficionados. The restaurant is licensed and features seasonal fare reflecting the best produce of the country, quality wines from their own boutique vineyard and panoramic views of the countryside. It’s a wonderful location for weddings, conferences and special events, with plenty of parking and a large, sunny and separate function room.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, Plume Villas opened late last year with 12 luxury villas set gently on the landscaped slopes below the restaurant.
Perhaps your experience of Matakana only begins here at Plume Cafe. Time permitting, you might consider visiting the restaurant and villas for a wee look around. A little Matakana magic is guaranteed.
Meet the makers in Matakana
If you’re interested in food authenticity and provenance, look no further than Matakana Village and the weekly Farmers’ Market.
Taking ‘meet the maker’ to a whole new level – you’ll meet the roaster, the smoker, the baker and the grower amongst many others. More than ever, consumers want to know about products, ingredients and the origin of the food they’re consuming. Step inside Honest Chocolat’s chocolaterie and you’ll see chocolates being hand made using ethically sourced, single-origin chocolate.
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the origin of your humble cup of coffee, then stop by Matakana Coffee down in the Farmers’ Market area. Lindesay roasts the beans on-site in the village and can tell you all about what goes into your daily fix and where those beans actually come from.
For food provenance overload, visit the Matakana Farmers’ Market on any given Saturday and make your way around over 40 passionate grower and producer stalls. The market growers offer changes with the seasons but the sustainability focus is all year round along with a green vibe. Make sure you bring your own bag as this is a zero-waste market.
Matakana Village open seven days 9am till late; Matakana Village Farmers’ Market open every Saturday 8am - 1pm, 2 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana.