365 Days | #21 | Sahara Restaurant Lounge & Bar

Unfortunately, Sahara Restaurant has closed.
They say “rules are made to be broken” and you certainly have to bend them occasionally, even if they’re just your own, self-imposed rules. So, while this blog mainly concerns the North Shore and its environs, I like to extend the boundaries once in a while….. We make a late getaway from the Shore on a Saturday afternoon, cruise up SH1 and turn left at Brynderwyn, continuing along the Kaipara Coast Highway until we reach the sleepy hamlet of Paparoa. The old BNZ bank, with its Category One Heritage status, is home to a fabulous restaurant.
Sahara has been in business for about 7 years; the original owners sold up and moved to Europe, and the current owners have continued to produce food of an extremely high standard that we believe is worth driving an hour and a half for. We relax with a wine in the lounge in front of the cosy fire, perusing the books in the library, until our dinner companions arrive. The decision about what to try from the menu is quick and easy – the selection on offer is short and sweet. We move into the dining room to enjoy the first round – tempura battered Kaipara oysters,  seared scallops with black pudding, and “hocks in socks”. We all choose the Montieths Wild Food Challenge dish – pheasant and wild boar served with a creamy mash and a whold poached tamarillo, matched with Montieths Celtic Ale. The dish looks amazing and tastes divine. The beer match is inspired. We leave very happy with our meal, even happier with the reasonable price we paid for it, and book a table for the special mid-winter Christmas dinner Sahara will be serving next weekend! Go to their website to see opening hours and how to get there. As we have family living in the area, there’s always a bed for us just up the road. But the Paparoa/Matakohe area has a number of very good B & Bs available. Try The Pines or Petite Provence.

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