387 Tamaki Drive
(09) 575 6995
7am - 11pm
Here is another lovely Hip Group cafe, found right opposite the beach in one of my favourite seaside suburbs, coming here feels like taking a holiday. Take a seat at the bar on beautiful Mattiazzi Osso stools to appreciate the efficient bustle within the open kitchen, or settle at table beneath a huge basket-like light fitting and take in the stunning view from St Heliers Bay, you can’t lose.
As with all Hip Group establishements, the majority of produce comes directly from their own farm and is incredible fresh. It’s lovey to start with a soda, or a fresh juice, which will be duly explained to you by polished waitstaff on arrival. The menu is short but detailed enough to make choosing difficult. It is essentially modern bistro fare, salads, burgers, soups, but with a level of refinement that makes it feel like fine dining.
Every dish is pretty as a picture, and the texture and flavour combinations are often a surprise. On past visits I’ve tried a pulled pork burger with emmental,and beer battered fish and chips, but I’ve also had fresh papperdelle with courgette, macadamia and feta. There is a focus on all that is bright and fresh, served with an elegance that makes a meal feel like a special occasion. I recommend the duck fat potatoes as a side. The pizzette is a signature of this restaurant, with ever-changing toppings – a great way to start a meal.
Service at St Heliers is attentive, casual, friendly. It’s often very busy, so if you don’t have time to wait, just order a coffee or an award-winning gelato and then go for a wander along the beach. It’s a truly lovely spot on a sunny day.