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A Bite to Eat – Salmon World Cafe


Yesterday we decided we would take the kids on a drive out of CHCH to Rakaia to see the big salmon – Deanna had done something about this in a homework assignment a few weeks back so it seemed a good idea to get her photo there. Shame it was a miserable day, but nevertheless, what a great trip out.

For those who have been living under a rock their whole life, Rakaia, named after the mighty river, is world-famous for its salmon fishing of which the one horse town bases its theme about. After taking the dogs for a walk and getting our photos in front of the big fish, we decided we would eat lunch in Rakaia – the fish and chip shop was closed, the pubs didn’t really suit the situation, and that left the two cafes. One was attached to the Salmon World theme park on the main drag, the other a cosy looking one across the road. We figured the themed one would be ‘too touristy’ and expensive, so Katie nipped across the road and came back saying no choice, so into Salmon World we went…and what a great decision it turned out to be!

The place is a stunningly kept and open restaurant/cafe feel with an outdoor deck overlooking a large pond (with no fish in it according to Deanna, odd?) and the food looked great that was on display, and seemed quite cheap. When in Rome and all that kind of thing, so me and Katie had the Salmon and Cream Cheese Panini (not usually my kind of thing, but it had local salmon), a Chicken and Cream Cheese Pizza for the girls, a bowl of fries, a juice, and a lolly-cake for the girls. $34, not bad I suppose.

The ambience of the place, and cleanliness, considering how busy it was, was great, in fact one of the nicer settings I have eaten in on a causal basis. The people seemed friendly too, even the two lovely ladies next to us who made a fuss over Renee…first time I have seen her that quiet I think!

So to the food, isn’t that what it’s all about? Two words; Pukeko Junction. Those who have eaten there, and those who have read my review on it will know what I am saying. This place is as good as Pukeko Junction in Leithfield, and that’s no mean feat. The Panini’s were exquisite, the bread obviously fresh-baked that day, and the salmon so beautifully prepared with that strong taste that only comes with salmon. Complimented with cream cheese and spinach, with a dash of sweet chilli sauce on the side, YUM. As it always transpires, and accounting for my slightly above average girth, I finished off the girl’s pizza for them (which was a lot bigger than you think) – again, the dough had only just been prepared and cooked bang on, the chicken, cream cheese and tomato relish (if not Anathoth sic I’m badly mistaken) was melt in your mouth fan-bloody-tastic. The fries were awesome, and the Just Juice seemed to go down well with the kids. They also devoured the lolly-cake, but not before Katie allowed me a mere morsel for the benefit of this review; I am a big, big fan of lolly cake, and this has to be the single best ever of all time lolly-cake I have ever, ever, EVER had!

A bit early for me to go to the bar...wait, did I just say that?

At one of the tables next to us, the foursome there had received their garlic bread for starters – must try that next time round. But at another table, it was their choice of dish that made me tell Katie (and the staff when I enquired about it) that we were coming back just to try it – when it came out, it looked like any standard fare of fish and chips, something I will get 9 times out of ten if it is on the menu, but when I found out it was in fact beer battered (is there any other batter?) salmon, well buggar me, that’s it!!!! Gee, I hope it doesn’t let me down…

Setting: 4 out of 5

Staff: 3.5 out of 5

Food: 5 out of 5

Value: 5 out of 5

Overall Score: 4.4 out of 5

Salmon World is open 7 days 9.30am – 4.30pm

Phone: + 64 3 302 7858
Fax: + 64 3 302 7859
Physical Address: 9 Railway Terrace East, Rakaia 8355
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2 thoughts on “A Bite to Eat – Salmon World Cafe

  1. Keith Eleftheriou on said:

    Here is an email from the cafe after I invited them to read the review prior to posting live;
    Hi Keith
    Thank you for the very positive post about our Complex re Salmon World and Salmon Tales Cafe. Not sure who you spoke to here but thank you for the promo. When you return you must try our entree Raw Salmon Trio it is a salmon lovers dream. Three preparations of salmon: Tartar, Ceviche and Carpaccio – delicious. Our Cafe is 7 days 8am to 5pm Mon to Wed and 8am to late Thurs to Sunday when we do evening dining.
    If you call again please make yourself known, I am hear most days and we do actually have salmon and trout in the big pond off the deck so make sure you ask for some bread so your family can feed them next time. They go a bit quite over the winter but they are there.
    Thanks again.

    Kind Regards

    Kaye Turton
    General Manager
    Salmon Tales Rakaia Limited
    9 Railway Terrace
    P O Box 43,RAKAIA 8355
    telephone: 03 303 5450
    email: enquiries@salmontales.co.nz
    website: http://www.salmontales.co.nz

  2. Keith Eleftheriou on said:

    My response to the above…

    Hi Kaye

    Thanks for that, i have posted your response onto my blog as well so others may take up your recommendation. Now I won’t be ‘revealing’ who I am next time there, it wouldn’t be right otherwise I cannot be subjective to the next meal I sample. But in saying that, I don’t think I will be hard to spot; I’ll be the one foaming at the mouth to try out the battered salmon and chips, and will also ask for bread for the fish.

    Take care, and keep up the good work. you’d be amazed how many people have come to me over your place – like me they assumed it would be touristy and below par, so never bothered. Funny how we cannot stop judging by a cover isn’t it?

    All the best…until the next time…yum!

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