What to do on a rainy Sunday in the central North Island? Go somewhere there is good food, of course! We headed to Hamilton for a spot of shopping and a bite to eat. We made our selection based on the cafe that looked the most bustling and popular from the street, and ended up in River Kitchen.
The decor is nice and fresh and the cabinet, though a bit empty (I'm guessing either they're expecting a quiet day due to the rain or the roaring breakfast trade has already decimated their product) has very appealing treats inside, including GF carrot cake and raspberry and lime friands, and very moist looking ginger loaf.
I ordered an iced chocolate to drink, and it was the best iced choc I've had for ages! It was creamy and chocolatey and had a generous dollop of ice-cream in it. Hmm, perhaps not the healthiest start to lunch! ;-)
The kitchen is behind a servery bar but is quite visible from the seating area, which is nice. I can see my pancakes being prepared, and at one point the woman preparing them addresses me which makes the experience even friendlier. When she has finished making our food she realises the waitresses are busy so comes around and serves our lunch to us herself.
I chose the ricotta pancakes with caramelised apple, apple syrup and creme fraiche. To be fair, this was also the dish Mr Cake wanted but I beat him to it, so we agreed to order two dishes and split both evenly (though we always share we tend to eat more of our own). This is a fantastic dish - the pancakes are fluffy and hot, and the apple is amazing. I would have very happily eaten all of this but sadly Mr Cake also loved it and quickly demolished his half. :-( Next time perhaps I should let him get the same as I do!
The other dish we ordered was a toasted sandwich with free range ham, tomato and cheese on focaccia. It was great (Mr Cake admitted he liked this even more than the pancakes, and he definitely liked the pancakes!). The focaccia was crunchy and salty and goooood, and the ham was tasty too. The standout part of this dish for me was the relish, which was tangy and good.
The whole meal was great - great service, nice atmosphere, and fantastic food. I'll definitely be paying another visit next time I'm in Hamilton!
The River Kitchen is located at 237 Victoria Street, Hamilton, ph 07 839 2906