It’s not often that you walk into a restaurant and think “wow, this feels like home.” That’s how I felt when I walked into Hislops Wholefoods Cafe in Kaikoura. It didn’t feel like my home, per se, but an idealised version of home where you are cozy and surrounded by the flickering light of a burning fireplace. It was warm and welcoming.
I felt like many of the options on the menu fit right in with this ideal; many would have been perfect meals to finish a cold winter’s day. However, that wasn’t quite what I expected. Although I knew that Hislops specialised in organic wholefoods, I thought there would be more of a seafood selection given its location. There was one platter for 2-3 people with all the seafood you could want, but nothing on the single order menu. I’m not complaining though — after transitioning from sunny Queensland to more autumnal temperatures, I was in the mood for something hearty to warm me up.
And hearty my meal was. I ended up choosing the organic lamb steaks served on a corn and leek brown rice risotto. It was filling and had a lovely flavour to it, especially the lamb. It was just the right portion size as well (mainly because I had enough room for dessert)!
Dessert was very quick to arrive and was a divine citrus bread and butter pudding. The tang from the citrus really added to the standard bread & butter pudding, and to top it off with caramel…well let’s just say I enjoyed every bite, even if I couldn’t quite finish it!
Something I found quite interesting was the number of products that were on sale throughout the cafe. As often happens, the artwork adorning the walls was from a local gallery; I thought the scenes of vineyards and trampers were beautiful and fit in perfectly with the decor. The other products were various organics, from pure organic honey (oh, so tempting) to bags of flour (which, according to their website, are milled on the Hislop family property). It was these that inspired my waitress, a traveler from Estonia, to work at Hislops, where she has been working for seven months (quite a long time for a person on a year-long working holiday visa)!
Overall, I really enjoyed my dinner at Hislops Cafe, and I would definitely eat there again (especially if I got to try the other meal I was considering — seared wild venison)!
Hislops Wholefoods Cafe is located at 33 Beach Road, Kaikoura. They are open from 9am every day in the summer. In winter they are closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.