The road trip through the North Island had us arriving in Taupo with growling bellies and in need of a quick meal if we were to ever make it to Wellington at a somewhat hospitable hour. We had taken in a visit to the Huka Falls and my limited photographic skills could never take in the majestic colour of the water. It was a real treat and one that my husband morosely reminded us that we never knew when we will ever get back to them again, and given my last visit was a child, it hit a raw nerve. It was that raw nerve I suspect that buoyed me into buying enough kiwiana in Taupo to fill another suitcase. Given it was mid week on our arrival I didn't hold out much hope of finding anything too special to consume. The town was also preparing for the Ironman due that weekend and a few early competitors had started arriving, despite the influx of visitors there is a sleepy quietness to Taupo.
We decided to park up and take a wander near the lakeside, my tired driver Mr T was in the mood for a pub meal so to whet his appetite we headed towards the pub on the main corner. We chanced upon Lavarock - a cheerfully decorated cafe that seems to be hidden among its garish neighbours.
The Lavarock is part of a growing chain in New Zealand known as the Stonegrill. The group adopts the concept of cooking at the customer's table on heated volcanic rocks. There are no cooking oils or fats used in the process. We decided to start the meal with some simple bread & dips as it had been a long few hours since our swim in the surf at Papamoa Beach and our stomachs were grumbling. Quite a delicious start with a freshly baked loaf, lightly seasoned with rosemary, rock salt and olives. The accompanying spreads of olive oil, balsamic, dukkah, butter and a babaganoush were tasty & moreish. As we had to hit the road before it got dark we decided to share a seafood grill - a lovely plate of fresh seafood arrived on the sizzling stone. It came with fries and a dipping sauce, and we orders steamed vegetables on the side. It was a race however to get the scallops, prawns and mussels off and consumed before being over done on the stone. The seafood was delicious and fresh however the dipping sauces did little to improve on the great taste. A satisfactory meal was had and in the time we dined a number of guests started to arrive. Paying the bill was a slow process, an extremely slow one so we grabbed some coffees and a delicious slice of lemon cake "to-go"on our long drive southward. The breakfast menu looked good too - hopefully our next trip to Taupo will give us a chance to sample it - if we don't get to and you do please let me know what you thought okay?!