We’re at Aroma’s Cafe, on Kaikoura’s main street. Seafood – specifically the local delicacy, crayfish – is the thing to feast on here. “Kai” is the Maori word for food and Kaikoura literally means “meal of crayfish”. We need little encouragement to try the local specialties, including crayfish (lobster) that is literally straight from the sea. You won’t find it fresher in many places.
Aroma’s owner, Teari Taylor, takes our order. I’ve tasted paua before, and I’m not a big fan. I am, however, a fan of whitebait and to match Candice’s sandwich, I have the “whitebait sandwich”. Also on offer is local game, including venison burgers and wild pork and apple burgers. All are around NZ$17.
The paua sandwich, when it arrives, is a pattie of minced paua and onion, served with salad. The whitebait comes as a light omelette – disguising the tiny fish somewhat – with a seafood sauce and salad. It is better than I expected.
Some of our table order crayfish, which comes as a half-shell for NZ$44 (with fries) or NZ$83 for a whole one.
Candice tucks in to her paua. It is black and dense looking. She declares it “mushroomy”, but I’d go further and say almost like truffles. Rich and strong. Still an acquired taste, but one worth trying.
A Glass Half Full travelled as a guest of Tourism New Zealand.