Schnappa Rock, Tutukaka, Northland, New Zealand

We turned up here at about 3 in the afternoon after a great trip to the Poor Knights Islands, on 27 December 2014.

Schnappa Rock is found on the corner of Marina Road and Marlin Place in Tutukaka. Look across the road and there’s a large marina. A further 20 or 30 kms out to sea are the Poor Knights. Unlike Jimmy Jack’s, it has a website.

The only thing I can fault is the old-fashioned and inaccurate spelling of snapper (is it meant to be “schnapper”?). Thirty five years ago I was editing a commercial fishing magazine (called Catch) and I got interested in “official” fish names. I remember writing an article, “Too few rules in fish name game” (Catch ’80, July 1980, page 24), and discovering that the Americans wanted to rename our snapper to “porgy”. Back then there were 17 other “snappers” in the United States. “Porgy” is not nearly as good the name we use for pagrus auratus – but unfortunately everyone else has their snappers. I see that in 1980 when I wrote the story we classified snapper as Chrysophyrus auratus: so even the scientific name has a bit of a history.¬†Anyway, “schnapper” is the old-fashioned spelling and only seems to live on in a few place names – and restaurants it appears.

Everyone enjoyed their meal at Schnapper Rock. The service was friendly and laid back. I ordered a variation on seafood chowder: “NZ Greenshell Mussel Chowder with a warm bread roll, $16.00“. However, it included a large prawn which had been placed right in the middle. It was served with a nice crisp bread roll and included several whole mussels, a bit of fish, the prawn, plus carrot, celery and chopped potatoes. The potatoes weren’t soggy (often a problem) but were just al dente. A minute less and they would have been too hard. Good luck or good management?

Sch Rock jpeg

Presentation was great and the chowder was a good temperature (often it’s a little bit too cool). It was thick, but not too thick, and had a lovely seafood flavour without being too sweet. Very nice and I give it¬†8 out of 10.


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