It was a wet stormy day. I’m talking rain so thick and heavy it was causing flooding and landslips. We were in the car, already running late, stuck in traffic, trying to make it to our special lunch reservation.
Wharekauhau Country Estate in the Wairarapa was on our radar today. It’s where Daniel and I got engaged and we decided to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of this by returning there for lunch (not in a helicopter this time!)
We arrived at the lodge, late, and rushed in. Instantly the frantic hours of the morning left us as we were warmly welcomed by the staff, shown to the lounge room and served a glass of bubbles. The staff are wonderful. Warm, friendly and attentive – they are a real testament to the place.
The place was just as exquisite as I had remembered. Beautifully decorated and luxurious yet still retaining a casual air to it which instantly makes you feel relaxed and at home. It was December, but not a warm balmy summer day. All the doors and windows were open though and they had the fires going. A beautiful warmth within the walls, while letting the wild mood of the outdoors in. So great!
We were shown to our dining room (you get the whole room to yourself) and introduced to our host Grant, who, throughout the afternoon, while serving our meals, shared proposal stories with us from his time at Wharekauhau. A nice personalised touch.
Our room contained a model of the Estate, being able to view the property from above gave me flash backs to that magical day when we arrived on the front lawn of the property by helicopter.
Guys, let me just say, if there is a special lady in your life that you are wanting to spoil (or propose to) Wharekauhau is the place to do it! The Helilunch is an awesome experience.
Wharekauhau operate a 5 course, ‘trust the chef’ menu. They will cater for dietary requirements, but other than that, what you eat is the chef’s choice.(For the main course you do get a couple of options to choose from.)
The menu packed a punch from the start; curry spiced carrot soup with coconut, macadamia, fennel and labneh. Full of flavour! ‘From the sea’ was next on the menu. Now I am a vegetarian and my husband is a big meat eater, so I was interested to see what they would do with this. Our meals came out looking identical, but Daniel’s was made with line caught trevally, and mine made from tofu. I was so impressed. I am sure it must take quite a lot of skill and creativity to do that. This was followed by 2 more delectable courses and finished off with my favourite, dessert. White chocolate and drunken nanny goats curd cheesecake with balsamic strawberries, pink peppercorn and garden mint. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Wharekauhau is not fine dining. It’s a step above. It’s luxurious dining.
After lunch we were shown a couple of the other rooms, one that was set up with a whisky bar another that was a games room. Board games, couches, a pool table, we were encourage to stay a while and use the facilities while we were there. The first time we were at Wharekauhau the weather was much more agreeable so we are able to have a wander around the extensive grounds. This time we chose to stay indoors and play a couple of games of pool. (And help myself to the lolly jars.)
The afternoon went way to quickly, but wow!
What a special place it is. When dining at Wharekauhau, you will relax, indulge your taste buds in an explosion of flavours and most import, leave with some special memories.
This place is quite dear to my heart and I am pretty certain we will return again.
Wharekauhau Country Estate is located in the Wairarapa, approximately 1.5 hours drive from Wellington. They provide luxurious accommodation and dining. A 5 course, Trust the Chef meal will cost you $165 per person. There is also the option to add on a 3 or 5 wine paring package to your meal if you wish.