Woohoo! San Francisco has been in America’s Cup mania mode for the past month while it hosted the world’s most famous yachting race. The Oracle Team USA, who were down 8-1 at one point, made a stunning comeback and won the trophy in the exclusive sport known for its long history dating back to 1850 and for the powerful personalities and tycoons it attracts. We recently went for brunch in the city at a waterfront restaurant smack in the middle of the America’s Cup activity. It was a beautiful sunny day and we strolled down the crowded sidewalks until we saw this signboard indicating we had reached our destination.
I had wanted to check out the Weiheke Yacht Club, mainly because is a pop-up (temporary) restaurant that is only open from July to the end of December. It is by New Zealand restaurateur Tony Stewart of Clooney and Hamptons (both in NZ) fame, and has been constructed to resemble a typical island beach with the sounds, sights and smells of home (hence the faux sheep?).
America’s Cup CEO Stephen Barclay brought in Stewart to lend an international air to the event, adding global flavor for America’s Cup racers and attendees from other countries. With this powerful backing, Stewart bypassed all of the usual obstacles, building out and opening this 100-seat wood-and-sheepskin-clad space in just three weeks—and managed to obtain a full liquor license. Stewart brought many servers and his head chef Hayden McMillan from New Zealand, whose kiwi charms convey the easy-going quality of New Zealand’s beautiful Waiheke Island and its locals. Chef McMillan’s menu focuses on using only the finest local ingredients, and I read that he even agreed to shop exclusively at the nearby farmer’s market at the Ferry Building.
Mr. K and I met up with Jaytee and we ordered drinks and were seated at our table while we waited for the rest of our party. The interior has a bright open feel, with natural light and cozy slouchy leather armchairs. Mr. K had a Bloody Mary ($6) while I enjoyed the Moa Breakfast Lager ($12), which was kinda pricey for a bottle of beer. Moa Breakfast is a tasty and refreshing lager with an abundance of cherry character and aromas, I think it’s name caused a bit of a ruckus with it’s easily misunderstood message to begin drinking beer first thing in the morning, but I enjoyed it.
We ordered some snacks. Bread selection with dips & ‘Anchor’ beurre noisette. ($7). It was a very light snack, four slices of lovely sourdough bread with a thick rustic crust, served with a rich creamy housemade butter and some kind of jam.
We inhaled the Cheese Plate ($20) which featured a New Zealand ‘Kikorangi Blue’, local fromages (cowgirl cheese I think), toasted cranberry walnut bread, quince paste, a sprig of raisins, and a gooey fresh honeycomb. I haven’t had much fresh honeycomb and was surprised to be left with a little waxy bit to chew, I had thought it would be edible or would melt in my mouth or something… This is a clickable Lytro photo of the cheese plate…
The dining room began to fill up while we sat there, but never to the point where there was a line to get in.
Everything sounded good, so I asked our server for a recommendation. He said that the Kiwi Breakfast ($18) is their signature breakfast dish. Here is the plate piled with Apple Wood Bacon (cooked to a meltingly soft texture), spicy lamb sausages, homemade baked beans, a nicely crisp square of hash brown, mushroom, spinach & poached free range eggs.
Kathy had the Pork Belly Benedict ($16), topped with tender abalone mushrooms, caramelized shallots, pickled red cabbage, hollandaise & free range eggs. Beautiful colors.
Mr. K let me taste his Mt Cook Alpine Smoked Salmon ($16), escabeche, salsa verde, soft herbs, hollandaise & free range eggs. The bright green salsa added bright fresh flavor to the rich dish.
The eggs we were told, were cooked sous vide and the centers were still liquid but not runny… gorgeous!
Jaytee had the Emirates Team NZ Challenger Burger ($15) – 100% NZ Beef & Lamb, beets, kikorangi blue cheese & egg. I know she is a bigtime burger girl, but sadly she didn’t look very enthusiastic and said that it was very soggy and was not sure about the beets.
Our server recommended the TCHO Crunchie Bar ($13), honeycomb, mandarin & manuka honey. We split a couple of them. This time, the honeycomb was the crispy sweet treat I remembered from my childhood, entirely not organic which added a lovely crunchy texture to the scoops of soft chocolate pudding.
I took a quick peek at the kitchen, which had a variety of lush microgreens growing along the counter.
We really enjoyed the brunch, which had interesting and inventive twists on standard breakfast items, and which was overall pretty affordable especially incomparison to their lunch/dinner menus, which seemed a bit on the spendy side with entrees $30 and up… Brunch is highly recommended!
Pier 29, 1256 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111 | 415.956.1048 | website
brunch Saturday & Sunday 11-3;
lunch from 11 am and dinner is 5-10 Sunday – Monday