Castaways Restaurant & Bar (Waiuku, New Zealand)
We had our departments conference several weeks ago in this amazing location called Castaways, I had my eye on this resort many years ago but did not have the time to check it out until now. It’s such a good venue and if you plan to have your conference here, they will take care of everything for you, accommodation, conference facilities, team building activity and most importantly food. To date this is the best one I had so far, it’s not too far, just an hour drive from Auckland but it feels so far, as there is nothing on here, just the resort and the beach. Accommodation is quite unique as well, instead of the hotel room style accommodation, they have it in two-bedroom houses with ensuites, kitchen, lounge, dining and laundry areas with a nice deck. Property is tucked on a cliff with a very spectacular view of the Tasman Sea.
Conference facilities is located on a lower cliff, far from the accommodation so it does not disturb people when function ends late. They also have a restaurant just at the back for the conference hall. The view from the hall is as spectacular as the ones from the accommodation.
We have a two-day conference here and all has been catered for, starting from the morning tea on day one up until the breakfast on day two. First day morning tea was light, where we got serve with Fruit Platters and Cheese Scones. I am not a fan of scones but after giving their scones a shot, I got hooked. I love it, very buttery and cheesy, slightly crumbly and dense, it was just the perfect taste and texture for me.
Then came lunch which was a surprise for me, they served quite a good amount of food. Starting with the usual bread rolls then several salads like Blue Cheese, Pear, Rocket Salad; Fried Egg, Cucumber, Bean Sprout, Salad, Capsicum and Onion Salad; plus, some warm Green Bean Salad.
All salads were tasty, I specially love the Fried Egg, Cucumber, Bean Sprout, Salad, Capsicum and Onion Salad, first time to try that one out.
Mains were Sweet and Sour Prawns, Thai Green Curry Chicken and Jasmine Steamed Rice. Again, everything was amazing, the sauce from the green curry was lovely. the crunch from that fried prawns was really good plus it was massive, they did not skimp on the quality,
For desert it was come Strawberry cheesecake shaped as like a section of a Toblerone bar. It was a nice and light cheesecake.
Several hours later afternoon tea was served in the form of Ginger Slice and Sausage Rolls. Sausage rolls was nice, feels like its restaurant made not grocery bought but I can be wrong. Ginger slice was good as well, perfect snack to wake you up.
The came dinner at this time the scenery just become even more spectacular, as we were in the West Coast the sunset was just stunning. We started with some drinks, as they have a bar on the conference area, so beers, wine and cocktails started to flow while we were waiting for our entrees.
First entree was Seared Scallops with green pea puree, pancetta dust and chili oil, this was simply good, very nice appetizer specially with that playful amount of chili oil that tingles your tongue but not to the point it becomes chili hot. Another entree option was Sliced Venison with kumara puree, beetroot and balsamic reduction, did not manage to give it a try but from what I heard it was amazing as well.
For mains I had this Lamb Shank with scallions, potato puree, roast vegetables and lamb jus. Lamb was really good, not gamey at all, fall of the bone meat served with a very creamy mashed potato. Carrots and scallions were grilled to perfection and it was quite sweet.
Another option for mains was this Eye Fillet with kumara mash, vine tomato, asparagus, and red wine jus, same as the lamb, it was tender, perfectly cooked and it was juicy. Kumara mash was the ideal match for this one.
For desserts the first option was this Chocolate Trilogy with chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream. A nice cake/mousse made with three types of chocolate.
Then the Trio cheesecake with mango sauce, berry coulis and salted caramel, similar to the one served at lunch this was fruity delicious. I especially liked the mango flavour.
Overall the place is amazing, it’s hard to find a place like this near Auckland. Location is perfect, accommodation was clean and quite new compared to New Zealand standards, facilities were ample and most importantly the food was great. I did not have a chance to get a photo of the breakfast but it is your usual buffet breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, cold cuts, fruit and baked goods.
Castaways Restaurant & Bar, Castaways Resort
Address: 685 Karioitahi Rd, Waiuku 2123, New Zealand
Phone: +649 236 5041