Lunch for Two at Elephant Hill Restaurant in Te Awanga – Best Winery Restaurant & Two Hats Recipient

My hubby and I had the privilege of dining at Elephant Hill Restaurant in Te Awanga, Hawke’s Bay in celebration of our second wedding anniversary. The winery restaurant is famed for its breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Kidnapper Cliffs and vineyard on top of its exquisite seasonal dishes and premium wines.

We enjoyed two entrées, two mains and SIX DESSERTS!! No doubt the food and drinks are pricey, but the experience is worth every single penny we spent.

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Elephant Hill – A Multi Award-Winning Winery Restaurant

Elephant Hill is set amongst the vines on the Te Awanga coast with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Kidnapper Cliffs. It is a wonderful place to unwind and enjoy fine dining and premium wines.

As such, this multi award-wining restaurant in New Zealand is a highly sought after venue for weddings, special occasions, functions and dinner. Their dishes are made with only the freshest of seasonal produce sourced locally from growers and suppliers who share their passion for excellence in food.

The restaurant is open 7 days a week except for Christmas day and do not have a public holiday surcharge. Reservations are required to dine at the restaurant as places are limited.

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Elephant Hill Winery & Restaurant, Te Awanga
The sunken lounge area @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
An outdoor terrace with breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, Kidnappers Cape and vineyard @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Dining area @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Erika & Tony celebrating their second wedding anniversary at Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga

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An Exquisite Celebration Lunch for Two

We opted to have a lunch date instead of a dinner so that we are able to see and enjoy the breathtaking view before us as we dine on good food and fine wine. A good word of mouth and excellent reviews of Elephant Hill Restaurant from friends convinced us to pay the winery restaurant a visit.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the restaurant’s warm and friendly staff and were instantly brought to our table located by the glass wall that gave us an incredible view of the surrounding area. The bone-chilling wind hindered our intention to dine at the outdoor terrace, but we were happy with our warm and comfortable indoor seating nonetheless.

We were given a choice to have filtered tap water or sparkling water (NZ$9) and we chose the latter. Our waitress gave us ample time to look through the menu and ordered our dishes when we were ready. The dishes of the day were gamefish (tuna) and whitefish (sawfish).

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Complimentary sourdough rolls served with butter, Aquiferra olive oil and salt @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Pan roasted scallops, cauliflower, gremolata, raisin, pine nut, pancetta, sage (NZ$24) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Gamefish (tuna), ponzu marshmallow, goma, sea grapes, sesame, cucumber, wasabi (NZ$23) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Gamefish (tuna), ponzu marshmallow, goma, sea grapes, sesame, cucumber, wasabi (NZ$23), accompanied by a glass of 2017 Elephant Hill Pinot Gris (NZ$14) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant
Firstlight wagyu beef, porcini, smoked cauliflower, quince,black garlic, liver parfait (NZ$43) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Whitefish (sawfish), scampi, saffron gnocchi, almonds, lemon, broccolini, roullie, inked sauce (NZ$41) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Whitefish (sawfish), scampi, saffron gnocchi, almonds, lemon, broccolini, roullie, inked sauce (NZ$41), accompanied by a glass of 2017 Elephant Hill Le Phant Blanc (NZ$14) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga

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Complex, Delicious & Visually Stunning Entrée, Main & Desserts

To be honest, the menu looks good and we were spoilt for choice. Each table received complimentary sourdough rolls served with butter, Aquiferra olive oil and salt. For entrée, we had the pan roasted scallops, cauliflower, gremolata, raisin, pine nut, pancetta, sage (NZ$24) and gamefish (tuna), ponzu marshmallow, goma, sea grapes, sesame, cucumber, wasabi (NZ$23), accompanied by a glass of 2017 Elephant Hill Pinot Gris (NZ$14). The scallops were melting in our mouths and I enjoyed the tantalising taste of the tuna dish. The white wine complemented the gamefish really well.

For main, we enjoyed the firstlight wagyu beef, porcini, smoked cauliflower, quince,black garlic, liver parfait (NZ$43) and whitefish (sawfish), scampi, saffron gnocchi, almonds, lemon, broccolini, roullie, inked sauce (NZ$41), accompanied by a glass of 2017 Elephant Hill Le Phant Blanc (NZ$14). I love the soft and fluffy saffron gnocchi and perfectly cooked flaky whitefish (sawfish) while my hubTeby thought the dark rich sauce that came with his moist and tender beef tasted like marmite.

As for dessert, we indulged ourselves to not one, not two, but SIX SERVINGS OF DESSERTS (because it was that good!) counting the surprise ‘Happy Anniversary’ chocolate truffles courtesy of Elephant Hill. First, we had the apple fritters, feijoa sorbet, white chocolate, tamarillo, frangipane (NZ$18) and lime cheesecake, shortbread, citrus textures, torched meringue, banana passionfruit sorbet (NZ$18). Next, we tried the Valrhona mousse, espresso, Frangelico foam, hazelnut, crème fraiche sorbet (NZ$18) and chilled coconut sago, pineapple, coconut marshmallow, melon, lychee sorbet (NZ$18).

We both love the Valrhona mousse so much that we ordered another one to share. Disappointingly, I did not enjoy the taste and texture of the chilled coconut sago I had because the sago was undercooked and the coconut was not creamy enough (just my own personal taste). I wished I had chosen the pumpkin bavarois, brulee pumpkin, blue cheese ice cream, maple, ginger (NZ$18) instead that probably taste and look better than the sago dish.

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Our complimentary ‘Happy Anniversary’ chocolate truffles by Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Lime cheesecake, shortbread, citrus textures, torched meringue, banana passionfruit sorbet (NZ$18) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Apple fritters, feijoa sorbet, white chocolate, tamarillo, frangipane (NZ$18) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Complimentary ‘Happy Anniversary’ chocolate truffles and apple fritters, feijoa sorbet, white chocolate, tamarillo, frangipane @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Valrhona mousse, espresso, Frangelico foam, hazelnut, crème fraiche sorbet (NZ$18) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga
Chilled coconut sago, pineapple, coconut marshmallow, melon, lychee sorbet (NZ$18) @ Elephant Hill Restaurant, Te Awanga

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In a Nutshell

Elephant Hill Restaurant lived up to its reputation and our expectations. The food was good and the wine was lovely. Service was spot on, attentive and friendly while the presentation of the dishes throughout the dining experience was stunning.

It was lovely to spend quality time with my husband doing what we love best at an exquisite and stunning venue. What impressed us most was the incredible, breathtaking view that made the whole fine dining experience unique and worthwhile – fit for a celebration! Elephant Hill Restaurant deserves a 5/5 rating and we will definitely go back there again for more.

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Elephant Hill
Address:  86 Clifton Rd Te Awanga, Hawke’s Bay
Phone: +64 6 872 ­6060
Email: restaurant@elephanthill.co.nz

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