The Bay House

Tauranga Bay Road, Cape Foulwind, Westport, 7892, New Zealand

Back to search results

The Bay House is near the seal colony of Tauranga Bay, located on Cape Foulwind about ten miles from the town of Westport. It has a stunning location overlooking a glorious beach with waves crashing in. There cannot be many restaurants in the world with a better location than this. The Bay House sensibly specialises in local fish and shellfish, such as the green-lipped mussels that are one of New Zealand's top culinary assets. These are prized even in Japan, where they know a thing or two about seafood. The restaurant has been here over twenty years, and opens from October to June. 

The wine list ranged from NZ$40 to NZ$130 and featured labels such as Bladen Sauvignon Blanc 2016 at $40 for a bottle that you can find for $26 in the high street, Domain Road Pinot Noir 2012 at NZ$70 compared to its retail price of NZ$43 and Domain Road Paradise Pinot Noir 2012 at NZ$130 for a wine that will set you back $78 in a shop. We drank the enjoyable Johanneshof Riesling 2016 at NZ$52 compared to its retail price of NZ$25.

We tried a warm salad of roasted courgettes, aubergines and peppers, with a cheese reminiscent of feta with a garnish of pumpkin seeds and some green leaves. This was pleasant, with a balsamic vinaigrette (11/20). I started with spaghetti with chilli and crab, topped with green lipped mussels and scallops. The pasta was nicely cooked, resting in a seafood broth. The scallops were quite ordinary, small and with limited natural sweetness, served with the coral. However the green lipped mussels were superb, large shellfish with much better flavour than the mussels we see in Europe. This is a tricky dish to score, dragged down by the scallops, but still at least 12/20 due to the lovely mussels.

A special of snapper was served with sautéed vegetables. The fish was delivered just as we sat down, locally caught and pan fried, and had good flavour. This came with mash flavoured with garlic and lemon and olive oil, along with undercooked green beans, cherry tomatoes and rather bland mushrooms in a cream sauce (12/20). On the side some French fries were distinctly anaemic, not crisp enough, and under seasoned. We skipped dessert, but coffee was nice.

Our waitress was pleasant but forgetful. A side order never appeared, and I had to walk over to the bar to remind her. A knife that she dropped when clearing the starters was left on the floor with a cheery “I’ll be back for that” but she never did return, and eventually I walked over and picked it up myself, so that no one tripped over it. An ice bucket took a couple of reminders before it finally turned up, so as you will gather the service here would not pass muster at, say, Hotel de Ville. The bill came to NZ$89 (£47) per person, which is probably about what you would pay if you had dessert but shared a cheaper bottle of wine. Overall the Bay House is not going to set the world alight on the culinary front, but uses some decent quality seafood and above all has a spectacular view.

Add a comment


User comments