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“Meals a let-down”
Review of The Riverhead

The Riverhead
Ranked #72 of 2,327 Restaurants in Auckland
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $11 - $29
Cuisines: Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: Nestled on the shores of the upper Waitemata, The Riverhead is steeped in local history and was a vital part of the development of early New Zealand. Prior to The Riverhead being built on this site, Thomas Deacon, the original owner, owned a pub on the point just below where The Riverhead now stands. The early Maori used this landing point as the place to disembark and portage their waka across land to the Kumeu River to get easier access to the lands in the Far North. Early immigrants then used this same route to travel north, disembarking at Helensville and continuing by ship north via the Kaipara Harbour.
Auckland
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Meals a let-down”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

My partner and I had reasonably high expectations of this restaurant based on past reviews, reputation and a well-priced menu. While the restaurant itself was warm and inviting the meals let the experience down.

Being a Thursday night, the restaurant was somewhat quiet. We by-passed the entrées and both ordered a main (approximately $30 each). My partner ordered the Fish of the Day while I had the Crispy Skinned Pork Belly.

The Fish of the Day comprised a filet of hake, gently pan-fried with a crispy top served on a bed of vegetables. While the dish looked good, there were two problems …. The first was that the dish was far too salty (I mention this further below) and second, the fish was surrounded by a moat of highly-flavoured sauce. The highly flavoured sauce all but completely drowned out the very delicate and subtle flavours of the fish.

Things weren’t any better for the Crispy-Skinned Pork Belly. This turned out to be a rectangle-sized solid piece of salty roast pork, hard, dense and very very dry served with an enormous globule of mashed potato. The pork was a real let down. It made me want to jab my knife into the centre of the pork piece and brandish around the restaurant wildly. Why? Because it looked and felt more like a weapon rather that something one would eat. No excuse, this dish has been on the menu for some time so the chef has had plenty of time to get it right.

This isn’t a restaurant I would be keen to try again as there are other restaurants in the area serving significantly better dishes for the same price. And besides, there are too many unanswered questions that continue to bother me such as:

Why were both dishes over-salted?
Why were basic rules broken – why was a delicate fish dish served together with a strong-flavoured sauce?
Why hasn’t this restaurant mastered the Pork Belly? There have been plenty of reviews to suggest that this dish hasn’t been working for some time?

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Hoppy_Auckland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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527 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent!”
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We came and had lunch here last Sunday and I thought the meals were SOOOO YUMMYY!!! and the service was great. Some of the smaller tables outside were a bit squished in the space but apart from this I highly recommend it!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Rachel643
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
280 reviews
146 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“For a pub it was good but not fine dining”
Reviewed August 6, 2013 via mobile

Started with scallops and my wife had the grilled squid. Both were nice. Her main was a lovely lamb shank on a bed of polenta and I went for the crispy skip pork belly. The food both rated nice and the level of cooking just right. I didn't like a couple of minor details like the foot ball sized mash potato and bacon quinell was way too much for the dish and I did not like it with the pork and the mustard jus. Loved the wine pairing and support for the local wineries.
My wife thought the lamb shank needed a gravy of jus to help bind it but the flavors were great.
Service was great. Nice staff. $150 for two pax with wine. I not to bad

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank crocteaser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“No disappointment here.”
Reviewed July 29, 2013 via mobile

This was our second visit. Admittedly we have only been during the week for lunch, but the staff were great - especially Rachel. The food was eclectic enough for us to keep coming back again and again and...
When things are busy on a weekend occasionally stuff ups will happen. I suggest everyone try to come here at least once during the week to appreciate the magic.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Carmkol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“UP THE CREEK @ RIVERHEAD Restaurant & Tavern ???????”
Reviewed July 26, 2013

The Riverhead .Restaurant & Tavern .................... I had heard so much about this place from friends and family that i was really looking forward to a great Experience and i think it was rocking on a cool Sunday afternoon All good so far. we eventually made our order for starters and mains
and some wine the we waited waited waited ?? We asked how long before we could have some food and we were told that a medium Steak takes longer to cook than a rare steak...15 minutes later my main came along with my starter.my partner got nothing.So we asked were was her starter they said that we hadnt ordered a starter. I wont bore you with what happened next but it was a real Bad expereince ... I loved the Place the Music . But The Staff need to know what they are doing ?????????

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Trevor L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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