Looking for somewhere nice to go for a special family dinner, we drove through Pukekohe and noticed The Long Keeper. A quick look at the menu online showed that it held something for everyone, at reasonable prices. It looked warm, clean, family friendly, and inviting so we went on in.
When we first arrived, it was quite early and we were the only customers, but by the time we left it was starting to fill up, seemingly with polite and well-mannered folk.
The restaurant is decorated with period (the 1920’s) images, linked to its namesake, the Pukekohe Long Keeper onion.
The staff were more than welcoming, they were friendly and helpful at every turn. Where so often children are treated like something to be politely endured, the staff welcomed them, giving them colouring sheets and pencils.
Menus were issued, specials discussed and the children politely asked about some items on the menu. The waitress was friendly, polite and answered questions. When asked ‘which would you recommend?’ from two options, the answer was not the normal, evasiveness, but rather a genuine, experience based suggestion. We felt that nothing was too much trouble.
While we waited for our food, the waitress noticed that the colouring was done, and promptly offered a selection of board games! The children were made to feel special at every turn.
When the food arrived, we were impressed. The attention to detail and presentation was impressive. The meals were delicious, cooked as requested, and the portions were very generous.
The steak was cooked to perfection and accompanied by flavourful, firm vegetables, surprisingly tasty cauliflower purée, potato gratin and a flavourful jus.
The children loved their meals, and again, requests for more sauce were received and satisfied with a smile that said it was no problem at all.
Even after the generous helpings, the dessert menu was just too tempting. The lemon tart was a perfect blend of tart citrus and sweet, crumbled, meringue and berry compote, perfectly accompanied by the manuka ice cream.
Far from being the normal boring affair, the ice cream sundae was rich chocolate and vanilla ice cream in a decadent chocolate wafer basket, with rich chocolate sauce.
Overall, I think our family may have found a new ‘special dinner’ venue!
The Longkeeper is located at 249 King Street, Pukekohe. More information can be found on their website, http://thelongkeeper.co.nz/