On the sunniest of Easter Sundays our New Zealand travels take us through the town of Nelson. (Where the first game of rugby in NZ was played they say.) Through excellent trip planning, it’s lunchtime. With slightly less planning, we drive around with the aim of zeroing in on a suitable place.
We strike gold.
The Boat Shed Cafe sits on oyster encrusted stilts over the blue, blue waters on Wakefield Quay. (Their website – by the way – is perfectly representative of the place.) Lonely Planet say it’s a local institution (I later discover). For us it’s a lucky find. The warmest of warm welcomes, free easter eggs for the kids and a table out on a covered deck in the sun.
The lunch menu is fishy. The whitebait are swimming beneath our feet: you can see the sea through the cracks between the boards. Decision made for us! The kids and I choose them to share along with the special: seafood soup. Having enjoyed patties, these whitebait arrive to our table ever-so-lightly fried having been dusted in flour and seasoning. Served with a little rocket – leaves, not a miniature spaceship – a wedge of lemon and some home-made sourdough bread. Perfect. The soup is a chowder with snapper, mussels, cockles vying for attention with chunks of spud in a creamy broth. It’s all delicious. Even the non seafood member of the party is catered for with a scrummy goats cheese salad.
We share Eton Mess and Creme Catalan for pud whilst little’uns munch on Easter eggs and sip hot chocolate. There’s plenty to watch as it’s busy on the water today.
Throughout our travels in NZ we’ve mostly eaten in for reasons of cost. This little splash out is to a) relieve the taste buds of Dad cooking and to b) break a long journey. So it’s doubly, trebly delightful to get served and fed well in a beautiful setting. The bill comes to just over £13 per head.
Do drop in if you’re passing.