The Belly Dancer of Mount Maunganui

Written by: Stephanie Johnstone on 16th Nov 2016

By day, the bright décor and colourful textiles of Zeytin At The Mount set the scene for lazy Mediterranean days. But by night, it turns into Arabian nights with the addition of the café’s newest entertainment, belly dancing.

Every second Thursday, local dancer, choreographer and belly dancer extraordinaire, Tanya Bamford-King shimmies and shakes her way around Zeytin At The Mount, providing the perfect backdrop to Mediterranean-inspired dining.

Tanya Bamford-King shows how it's done

Tanya brings all the colour and spectacle of the traditional Middle Eastern folk dance with vibrant costumes, exotic jewellery and zills. Belly dancing is regarded as the oldest form of dance and can trace its routes back to India, The Middle East and the Mediterranean. And now, diners at Zeytin At The Mount can take a journey into these foreign lands with Tanya's music and moves.

Queen of the Dance

While many diners are hesitant to join in and bare their torso with Tanya, children, as usual, are less inhibited.

Shaking it at Zeytin

Zeytin At The Mount owner, Mandy Gillgren says that Tanya is always a hit with children. “If the kids look like they want to engage, she’ll get them up with her to dance.”

For Mandy, introducing belly dancing to Zeytin At The Mount just made sense.

“We’re a Mediterranean restaurant, so belly dancing is perfect for us. The style, colour and music of belly dancing are the perfect match for what we do here.”

Mediterranean Inspiration

Located in the heart of Mount Maunganui, Zeytin At The Mount is well known for its generous servings of fresh, Mediterranean-inspired food.

The extensive menu transports diners to distant lands with its huge selection of sharing plates, Mediterranean delights and main meals. The Meze Plate (starter) selection is extensive with diners able to choose seafood, haloumi, dolma or felafels as well Iskender and Doner Kebabs to kick things off. Main meals include Tagine, Moussaka and slowly braised Beef Cheeks and plenty of daily specials.

The house speciality is the Meze Board, the perfect excuse for lingering over a long lunch or dinner and savouring the flavours of house-made dips like tapenade, babaganoush, salmon spread, hummus alongside cheese, meats, dukkah and warm bread. 

Zeytin’s Wood-Fired Secret

But it’s the wood-fired oven that has kept the locals coming back for more since the restaurant opened in 2009. Mandy says the secret to great-tasting traditional Turkish pide is cooking it in the wood-fired oven.

Zeytin's wood fired pizza

“We’re proud of our baking. All our bread and pizzas are hand-made each day and cooked in the wood-fired oven,” says Mandy.

Zeytin At The Mount is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner with lunch is available on Mondays. Belly dancing happens every second Thursday at 7 pm and 8 pm. Diners are always invited to join in.

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