Best of Tauranga Newsletter - June/July 2010

Winter provides a great excuse for eating out –that’s if you feel you need one. On the fine dining scene, Mount Bistro (Mt Maunganui) is the only local restaurant to make the prestigious Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards. The magazine says standards have gone from strength to strength, with the number of finalists climbing from 40 to 50. Head judge Kerry Tyack says the awards are not just about big-city dining. “This year we see a greater number of provincial finalists, with Paihia and Mt Maunganui making the list for the first time in the history of the awards.”  The winners of the awards will be announced on August 16.

On the subject of fine dining...Tauranga French Restaurant, Cafe Versaille is planning a special dinner to celebrate Bastille Day, July 14th. The menu features for starters,‘Bastille breads and French finger food from the different areas of France.’ 

The dinner continues with ‘sundried tomatoes, chives and Gruyere soufflé, matched with a glass of Bome Pinot Noir or Lammastide cabernet merlot. Next up is prawns’ ratatouille with sauvignon blanc, garlic, courgettes and olives, matched with a glass of Vintage Lane sauvignon blanc or Cellar Nine pinot gris.

The main is beef eye filet with a Burgundy sauce and roasted vegetables cooked in duck fat, matched with a glass of Lammastide cabernet merlot or bome pinot noir. For desert, there is profiteroles with berry ice cream and white and black chocolate coulis, matched with a glass Cellar Nine pinot gris or Vintage Lane sauvignon blanc. Est bien, as they say - all this for $85 per person, with bookings essential (Tel 5711 480).  

If some the French dishes inspire you, Cafe Versaille will even help you learn to cook ‘em.  The cafe is running cooking classes with recipes selected to ‘benefit beginners and experienced alike.’ Those attending are taken through the preparation, cooking, and plating of an entrée, a main course and a dessert. This month the focus is on creating a ‘sumptuous French feast.’ The classes are being held at the restaurant, 107 Grey Street.

Meanwhile, if you just want try somewhere new and feed the family without financial harm, try  Cobb & Co, at 105 The Strand. Cobb’s Fish & Chip meal, crumbed fillets served with a fresh garden salad, will set you back $19.95. The new family restaurant in the Harbourside City Backpackers building has three different kids menus catering for the age groups one to three, four to 12, and 13 to 15 years old. The range in price from just $4.95 for tots, to $15.95 for the ‘tweens.’ There’s a children’s play area and Cobb caters for birthday parties. 

For more other eating out choices, here is Trip Advisor ( website’s latest list of Tauranga’s best Restaurants. We don’t have the space to list them all, but here are a few:

  • Cafe Zeytin
  • Providores Urban Food Store
  • Clarkes Restaurant
  • Bella Mia Pizzeria Ristorante
  • Little India Bistro & Tandoor
  • Astrolabe
  • Somerset Cottage
  • Talk of India
  • Harbourside Brasserie & Bar

Get into the great outdoors painlessly this winter, with a jaunt to one of the Western Bay’s superb hot pools – some of them far from the well-trodden tourist trails. The Mount Saltwater Hot Pools is perhaps the best known of local pools, with its prominent spot at the base of Mauao (the Mount). But it’s one of seven pools between Mount Maunganui and Waihi Beach, all with a different character. Spotlight has our hot pools catch up.

Art Galleries Catch Up

Tauranga Art Gallery is showcasing the work of one of New Zealand's most prestigious and influential painters. Frances Hodgkins: 'femme du monde' traces the meteoric rise of this Dunedin born artist from her fledgling days as an amateur painter, who was taken under the wing of the Italian bohemian artist Girolamo Pieri Nerli, to her eventual induction and concurring of the British modernist art scene..  
The exhibition shows the development of Hodgkins' artistic style in more than 30 major works drawn from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery's collection, as well as private collections in the Bay of Plenty, including that of former Otumoetai eccentric, 'Springheel Jack'.

Michael Hodgkins, or 'Springheel Jack' as he was dubbed due to his peculiar gait, was Frances Hodgkins' nephew. An avid botanist, Michael (1902-1965) lived in a hut, without electricity or running water, by a salt marsh in Otumoetai, surrounded by paintings by his aunt that he inherited from his father. Frances Hodgkins: 'femme du monde' is on until September 5.
And catch Bears at the gallery before it ends on July 11, with its focus on the darker aspects of life. Bernie Harfleet and Donna Sarten use their art to draw attention to social and political injustices across a number of themes - child abuse in particular. Harfleet's 'Bears' are not the warm, cuddly kind, but rather the adults who abuse and kill children. For the past 25 years Harfleet has worked with young people with disabilities, and has come across cases where these disabilities have been caused by abuse from family members or their care-givers. In her work Smack, Sarten uses the boxing 'punch bag' as a metaphor for child abuse. viewer to think before striking.

At Laundromat Art Project Space in Second Ave, Bridget Rewiti’s exhibition is all about ‘the notion of light.’ The camera is an instrument that requires light to register and image.  Fungi, on the other hand, she says, do not require light for growth, germinating in dark, damp environments. ‘A camera has the capacity to capture a moment, compose a memory. Fungi are the principal decomposers of an ecosystem, providing nutrients for the natural environment.’The exhibition at 92 Second Ave is on until July 31st.


Vallanne from Tauranga has a $40 voucher to spend on great Kiwiana – at Kiwiana Gifts & Souvenirs,  Mount Maunganui.
And a copy of the 2010 Tauranga City Airshow DVD, celebrating the Classic Flyers aviation museum’s 5th birthday, is going to Greg from Napier. Congratulations!

New Prizes

What's better on a cold winter's day than a soak in the hot pools... This time we're giving away 2 family passes to the Mount Saltwater Hot Pools.

Posted: Thu 01 Jul 2010






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