A historic pseudo-food truck along the coastal State Highway 1 just 15 minutes north of Kaikoura's town center, Nins Bin was one of our most memorable eats in New Zealand. With just the one person juggling the chef, server, cashier and cleaner roles, sided by her go-fer of a younger sister, this was the epitome of a charming little family-run establishment. Replete with a primitive robinson crusoe-like setup, with well-worn driftwood benches haphazardly strewn next to what appeared to be an abandoned rowboat.
Nins Bin serves a decidedly limited menu of crayfish, mussels, and whitebait, all of which were swimmingly fresh. What they lacked in variety, they made up with quality and finesse in treating the seafood. The crayfish here was truly smashing, and totally unforgettable. It was so delicious, we promptly ordered a second, bigger, one as soon as we took one bite of our first order. Half hour waiting time be damned. We were happy enough to stare out into the great big pacific blue to while the time away anyway.
Nins Bin does crayfish 2 ways, chilled with lemon, or you can opt to have your Crayfish ($48) grilled with garlic butter ($8). I say go for the garlic butter, everytime, all the time. Sweet, succulent, and glazed with that glorious butter and dots of fresh garlic, this was lip-smackingly good. When no one was looking, we licked the shells clean off.
One of New Zealand's biggest exports, the Green Lip Mussels ($20) were simply steamed in white wine and lemon wedges. Fleshy, subtly sweet and brimming with the unadulterated essence of the purest bluest clearest ocean, we were popping these like popcorn.
How's this for the best ambience and view ever? So, you go in, pick your crayfish from the ice-box (prices are stated on the crayfish itself, which are individually sealed for hygiene), make your order, and pay for it. Easy peasy.
State Highway 1
Open daily from 9am to 5pm or until sold out (best go before 3pm)