Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Review: The Oyster Inn, Waiheke Island.

23 Responses

  • Islander,

    O! A name like " The Oyster Inn" would call me in every time! Never been to Waiheke either - thanks Damian! Another one to put on the 'when I win Lotto I will do' list...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    Waiheke made the NYT "46 places to go in 2013" list today (scroll to #35).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Marion,

    As a resident of Waiheke for 17 years I am pretty confident the "Oyster Inn" will do very well during the "dry"period, locals have recommended it to me so I went there and I will be a regular there once the "crazy" season is over. Food is good and affordable

    Waiheke Island • Since Jan 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Jo Davidson,

    I gather from a comment on a Waiheke Facebopk page that due to lack of personnel
    the staff are working double shifts

    New Zealand • Since Mar 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I guess I’m a bit OCD or something, but when I’m waiting for something to turn up that is long overdue, I find it impossible to relax. It basically ruins things for me.

    Maybe it's a little anal, but that doesn't let the restaurant off the hook for failing at the most basic service. A drink is a particularly poor thing to be kept waiting for, considering the service involves opening a bottle and pouring it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Marion,

    I hope you're right - but as a resident you'll be aware how frequently the restaurants change hands in Oneroa. "Affordable" is pretty subjective - I don't mind spending $100 for lunch on a special occasion (2 of us, a glass of wine each, a main each and sharing an entree) but it wouldn't replace my local cafe as my weekend regular. In the end it's a numbers game, and presumably someone has done the maths as to how it's going to work. I really really hope it's still here next summer.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Islander,

    Never been to Waiheke either – thanks Damian!

    If you can make it as far as Tamaki Makaurau it would be my pleasure to give you the tour...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to ,

    "Affordable" is pretty subjective

    It is indeed. I would call $100 on lunch "expensive", and would expect very good food and service for it.

    Or in this case, writing down the drink order and giving it to someone whose sole job is to open the bottle and pour it.

    If there's a person who is just on drinks it's even less excusable. That person should be looking around at the drinks on the tables pretty much all the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Damian Christie,

    If you can make it as far as Tamaki Makaurau it would be my pleasure to give you the tour..

    O Damian – I will so take you up on that!* I am hoping to get to Foo Camp but my best friend & naybore of 30+ years is terminally ill & one of my brothers has just been diagnosed with cancer sooo- I’m not sure I can make it BUT!

    I live in hope…for them & for me-

    *paying share of course & shouting you the lunch-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    waiting for something to turn up that is long overdue, I find it impossible to relax.

    Over the years I've slowly learned that service really is a huge part of the restaurant experience. You are definitely not alone in getting progressively pissed off during a meal because the wait staff get it wrong.

    It was Richard the previous owner of Bowmans that demonstrated just how good service can and should be - over about 10 years of regular visits there we were spoiled by the quality of Richard's service and the service of the staff he trained. His staff concentrated on the task at hand, for which they were paid in salary and tips. It certainly seemed to us that they enjoyed their job more because they did it well - but those too things are probably not independent.

    For a restaurant getting service wrong is a killer. I have friends who will never go back to The Grove despite the quality of the food. I've not had as bad an experience there as they did but the service didn't enhance the food. By contrast, the team at Merediths work as hard as the chefs to get it right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But I would rather go to a restaurant that is consistently Very Good – Prego is probably the best example I can think of here – where the food will never amaze, but like a high class Cobb ‘n’ Co, you know what you’re getting, every time.

    I kind of wish we’d just taken our chances with the non-bookable Prego for our family dinner date on New Year’s Eve. We opted for GPK, where the kitchen managed to completely ruin my very expensive steak – I suspect by preparing it too soon and leaving it under lights until the other meals were ready. The young waiter apparently didn't grasp what I was saying when I drew attention to it. It would’ve been safer to just order pizzas all round.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It would’ve been safer to just order pizzas all round.

    Kind of what GPK is all about, isn't it?

    The young waiter apparently didn't grasp what I was saying when I drew attention to it.

    And in these enlightened times beating a young man with a tough steak so that he viscerally feels the difference just isn't cricket.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would rather go to a restaurant that is consistently Very Good

    Learned that lesson for business meals from a boss who would oft venture into the kitchen to oversee his tuna steak's 30-second searing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    That's only 1 step away from going in and actually cooking it yourself. After which point the next step is to stay home and save 90% of the cost.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I do like Providores although I've not been for a while, as it is slightly out of the way for me at present. Good to see someone is poaching talent back to NZ away from London and not the other way around

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    That’s only 1 step away from going in and actually cooking it yourself.

    Don't be silly. Watching someone work for you is much more enjoyable than doing it yourself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    tax-deductible :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Watching someone work for you is much more enjoyable than doing it yourself.

    Does this explain backseat driving?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • slarty, in reply to Sacha,

    50%...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    ... I've been there a couple of times now. It's nicely done, but that location has always struggled, so it will be interesting to see how it manages through the off season when you are more dependent on a price-sensitive local audience.

    I reckon the brilliant Perry will set a good standard for the wait-crew!

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to BenWilson,

    That's only 1 step away from going in and actually cooking it yourself.

    That's why I've always objected to those restaurants where they bring you your steak and you cook it on the hot stone in front of you "to your liking". Um, no, I'll fuck it up. *You* cook it to my liking...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Can I add, because I think it's incredibly important to acknowledge the positive when it happens, rather than bitch about the negative...

    Went to Tin Soldier on Ponsonby Rd the other night. It's similar to Depot and Oyster Inn I guess, schmancy small and large plates all for sharing, a little rack of cutlery on the table to help yourself to etc. All so *now*.

    The food was great, and I think better value for money than either of those other two places, very tasty, albeit probably a small step down in 'classiness', if that matters. Definitely not rustic though.

    But the SERVICE. Our waiter, Amanda, looked after us incredibly all night. She was honest (no, the oysters are too creamy right now, and the special beer on tap, ergh), great with recommendations, and EVEN THOUGH she forgot to put through one of our small plates, she dealt with it with good humour, and brought us out a complimentary dessert (which was delicious) - in this case the one we didn't order but had been tossing up over.

    That's how you do it. So we tipped her of course, because ultimately, a minor mistake like forgetting to put something through doesn't have to ruin your night, even for someone OCD like me... and can even be turned around.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Damian Christie,

    That’s how you do it.

    Did you let the maitre d' know she'd done a great job? Tipping is one part but letting the house know they have someone great at the tables is great feedback as well.

    Of course letting us know that Tin Soldier is a good place to go helps too :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

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