Dinner at Huhu Café (Waitomo Caves, NZ)

Sitting atop a hill across from the B&B, Huhu is without question the best place to eat in Waitomo Caves. A restaurant of this caliber would do quite well in a larger urban area. After we dined here the first time (lunch), we knew we had to return before leaving for Auckland. Simply put, Huhu was the best fine dining experience we’ve had on this trip so far. Though the menu most likely changes frequently (and you’re unlikely get the same thing again on a return visit), it won’t matter. The food is that good.

Dinner began with complimentary slices of bread served with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dukkah, a Egyptian blend of ground nuts, herbs and spices. We’d never had this delicious condiment before, but it’s worth seeking out a recipe for it.

Bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and dukkah

I had a superb braised beef with mushrooms and red wine, accompanied by a cauliflower purée and roasted broccolini. Not only was the beef fork tender, but the entire dish was an umami bomb, beautifully done.

Braised beef with cauliflower puree and roasted broccolini

My wife’s curried pumpkin soup was likewise delicious but fiery, with a splash of sour cream and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Curried pumpkin soup

We don’t know if we’ll ever return to Waitomo Caves, but one excellent reason, aside from the worms, would be Huhu Café.

Huhu Café
10 Waitomo Caves Rd
Waitomo Caves 3943
New Zealand
07 878 6674

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Lunch at Curly’s Bar (Waitomo Caves, NZ)

One of the places recommended for a lunch by the proprietors of Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge was Curly’s Bar, a tavern in the village just a few blocks up the main road. There are quite a few tables inside, likely filled when tourism is in full swing. There are pool tables and an internet café.

We split a Crusty Burger, a splendiferous version of a NZ-style burger: beef patty, steak, tomato slice, lettuce, fried egg, pickled beet (here called beet root), slice of cheddar cheese (here called tasty cheese). The ingredients are over-the-top perhaps, but the burger pleased my mouth.

Crusty Burger

By the way, Crusty is the name of one of the owners, Curly being the other.

Curly’s Bar
Te Anga Rd, Waitomo Village
Waitomo Caves, NZ
07 878 8448

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