Central Hawkes Bay is beautiful at any time of the year. On our most recent visit – for lunch at the Duke of Edinburgh in Porangahau – the poplars were still yellow, the maples were turning and, after the first rain in months, there was a hint of green in most of the paddocks. With the approaching winter solstice the harsh, white light of summer had been replaced by the soft gold of autumn and that golden light transformed the country-side from ordinary-Hawkes-Bay-beautiful to spectacular.
The Duke has a particular Hawkes Bay ambience. One we love. It wasn’t crowded although we’re pretty sure it’s a different story on a Friday or Saturday night. A tui was happy to get up close and personal in the garden bar, a herd of cows ambled their way down the road, and John Rowles sang all about his ten guitars while we waited for our meals. The pub has a truely local feel but outsiders, like us, are welcome.
It was warm enough to sit outside and that Hawkes Bay autumn sun did something special to our Central Hawkes Bay red. At 9.6 standard drinks per bottle it was a wine to be approached with a certain level of respect.
Blame it on the wine, or the nostalgia that went along with remembering the stories our mother told us about our great-grandfather’s time in Porangahau; someone has hatched a plan to return for an overnight stay … we’ll have to see about that one!
A few months ago, on the occasion of a previous visit, one of us had bangers and mash at The Duke and has been trying to replicate it at home ever since. Sadly, this time it wasn’t on the menu. However, the meals were as tasty and generous as ever. The triumph of the day was the burger with its home made pattie and plenty of veges and chips. The mussell fritters were pretty good as well. And where else, when you order the fish of the day, do you get three large fillets?
If the The Duke should ever feel too crowded only a few ks down the road there’s all the space anyone could ever need!
How did we rate our likely return?
Keen as (You bet!)
Could be talked in to it
Not if I’m paying
Categories: Off The Beaten Track in Aotearoa