Clearview Estate Restaurant (Hawkes Bay)

194 Clifton Rd, Te Awanga, ph: 06-875 0150

by David Burton | Cuisine issue #156 | Friday, 28 December, 2012
Like all Hawke’s Bay’s vineyard restaurants, Clearview attracts its share of overseas tourists. But its rustic, seaside-bach atmosphere is even more in tune with the tastes of Kiwis.

A mix of indoor, outdoor and in between, with some tables extending out into the vines, the atmosphere is sufficiently laid-back for parents not to have to stress about the behaviour of their offspring.

Clearview is the ultimate in Kiwi DIY, for owner-winemaker Tim Turvey also builds like topsy. Some years back he satisfied the demands of bureaucracy by setting up a winery lab inside a plastic igloo. He also dismantled a former Ford garage in Hastings, moved it in bits and joined it to the restaurant-tasting room, also home-built.

Not surprisingly, Turvey’s wines are closely integrated with the food here, both as inspired matches (as in the Late Harvest Chardonnay with the bitter orange and almond cake) and as ingredients – as in the splash of Sea Red reduction beneath my fluffy, beautifully flavoured chicken liver parfait and its fried capers.

A large small-plates section offers matching wines by the half-glass, including the reserve sauvignon I drank with a tranche of spankingly fresh snapper, still with its wing dramatically attached, over coconut and lime risotto. The synergy was perfect.

The service, in the immortal words of Sean Fitzpatrick, was a game of two halves. Having booked under my mother-in-law’s name, we remained incognito while bamboozling our first waitron with a series of questions.

What exactly was a fried dumpling skin, my companion wanted to know. It transpired she should have been thinking “deep-fried wonton wrapper”, which in the event very nicely encased a generous dollop of smoked fish rillettes, bright-tasting through having been smoked in-house that very morning.

Word having apparently reached management that a reviewer was in house, a waiter then picked up a paper napkin I’d dropped on the floor, the restaurant manager took over waiting at our table, and Tim Turvey himself appeared to pour us glasses of Clearview Endeavour Chardonnay.

Clearview’s beef is from organically raised local Ti Kouka cattle, and is noticeably denser in texture through having spent longer growing to maturity. Here, beef cheek had been braised slowly in cider and baked in a pie, its richness nicely balanced with an elegant parcel of spinach, spiked with roast garlic. A jug of gorgeously syrupy beef jus completed the set.

The toffee cap of our cinnamon espresso brulee shattered like a windowpane under the tap-tap-tap of a spoon, revealing custard distinctly flavoured with espresso, an inbuilt jolt-orama that served us in place of an afternoon coffee and thus pleasantly concluded our lunch amid the vines.

Clearview Estate Restaurant
194 Clifton Rd, Te Awanga,
ph: 06-875 0150,
Summer: lunch 7 days, Fri eve pizza;
Winter: lunch Thurs-Mon, last Fri eve of the month pizza
Mains $27-$35


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