The Tasting Shed (1)
609 State Highway 16, Kumeu. Ph 412-6454, thetastingshed.co.nz.
Lunch Friday-Sunday, dinner Wednesday-Sunday. $
If you had to describe your ideal rural restaurant, The Tasting Shed would come damn close. Next to the Coopers Creek vineyard, it’s a converted pear cider shed, all open timber trusses and polished concrete floors leading out to a sheltered courtyard, and they run a courtesy bus from the city, so it’s not surprising it’s popular with hens’ parties. There’s a big, flat lawn and places to sit outside. A lot of weather-worn timber, a bar built from pear crates — rustic yet refined — and the wine list is very good indeed. The food is casual: small plates, seasonally driven. The triple-cooked potatoes are a thing of wonder and there is often a simple dish of clams with chorizo and saffron, served with bread, though there are also more inventive menu options: “stingray” with assam laksa, say. It all hangs together nicely, helped by friendly, assured service by the irrepressible Ganesh Raj (pictured).
A favourite dish: Trust the chef. Seriously, there’s a menu item called that and it’s well worth a go.
Shared-plate options / Good for vegetarians / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Good seating outside / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar / Craft beer selection / Good for kids