New Zealanders impress us as a very friendly and helpful bunch. Several people in Hahei had mentioned a great dinner spot in Whitianga called Salt. Whitianga (pronounced Fitianga) is a short 15 minute drive north of Hahei. The best part of the journey is the little ferry that takes you across the estuary into town. It costs NZ$2 and lasts about 2 minutes.
Salt is two blocks from the ferry, waterside, overlooking the marina. The place was bustling with thirsty hungry people, all seated outside on a perfect summer eve. The menu offered about five main courses and each one was tempting. Our waitress offered her favorite – Duck cooked two ways with pumpkin puree and bok choy. After a long hot day I was happy to be swayed. Jay was in the mood for seafood and creatively chose three appetizers/entrees… a sublime Kingfish Sashimi with mirin and fresh wasabi, local oysters (raw with shallots & white balsamic vinegar and tempura with aioli drizzle) and a buttery crayfish tail. Each dish was perfection and suggested wines both from the Marlborough region were spot on – The Edge Pinot with the duck, and a Jules Taylor Savignon Blanc with the seafood. We had pledged we would not have dessert… oh well, the Chocolate Delice with homemade vanilla ice and crème anglaise somehow graced our table… heaven.