Tony Stewart has plenty to be thankful for; the New Zealand native and Restaurateur is the man behind America’s Cup fine dining pop-up the Waiheke Island Yacht Club. Not only is his stateside restaurant receiving tons of acclaim, they recently added an exciting new brunch menu featuring a resident DJ, and fellow islanders Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup. It seems like a good year for Kiwis in San Francisco.
The WIYC home at the historic Embarcadero Pier 29 is prime real estate. The expansive interior with its open kitchen is light and airy. At the elevated dining level, timbers were left an untouched honey tone, and seating softened with sheepskin and rich caramel leather hides. As a backdrop overlapping navy and gray tones remind you of the bay just beyond the wall. This rugged coastal minimalism sets the stage for some of the best food San Francisco has to offer.
I was privy to an intimate sneak preview prior to the opening. The tour led by Stewart included a first hand account of the décor that would follow. With no time to spare his New Zealand transplants continued busily laying, what would eventually be the dining room floor at my feet. The restaurant was my first choice when deciding where to celebrate my birthday. The menu, like most things at the restaurant proudly features a wild array of New Zealand’s finest. My dinner companions and I marveled at the complexity of flavors finessed into culinary alchemic creations.
They had us at the Cervena tartare; tender New Zealand venison accented using radish, fresh horseradish and an oyster on top. From then on, all the samplings and entrées matched our initial delight. I also attended a pre launch brunch hosted by Tony Stewart, Nisreen Gardner, Angella Sprauve and Flora Les, which was absolute bliss. The table could not get enough of the french toast & anglaise with coconut fromage, a blend of sweet fruits and syrups. Not a beer drinker myself I was surprised to fall for their breakfast pairing. Crafted in New Zealand by Moa using age-old techniques similar to winemaking, this would be the beer to reform me.
Since opening to fireworks on Independence Day, Stewart has hosted celebrities the likes of Tom Cruise, Olympians and Michelin-Starred Chefs among others. The pop-up is scheduled to celebrate its last night on New Years Eve. Make sure you stop in before that. I cannot get enough and already have another reservation on the books.
Check out the Hot Shots section to see moments from the brunch, and the video for an interview with Stewart at the Waiheke Island Yacht Club
All the best – Moanalani Jeffrey