Posts Tagged ‘central otago’
The thing I love about Queenstown is it’s diversity. There is a heap of crazy things to do, like bungy jumping, snowboarding and skydiving but aside from all that there are some of the most amazing eating and drinking experiences. My favourite of these is jumping in the car and driving out along the Gibston Valley, Bannockburn and Cromwell and tasting wine at some amazing producers. I’ve been to many of these cellar doors over the years but have compiled my favourites into this tour. They all have great stories to tell and amazing wine to try and buy. I’ve got a few more in depth blog posts about these on their way, in the meantime, here’s a couple of sets of photos I shot on one trip. As impressive as the scenery looks in the photos, sadly they don’t really do it justice.
Cromwell & BannockburnTwitter.
Luciano’s can be described quite simply, great meat cooked brilliantly. If you take away the mobster theme; the walls covered in quotes from gangster films, the Tommy gun mounted on the wall near the entrance, and the blues brother’s car that drives around town; then the food can stand on it’s own. I believe Luciano’s is the best restaurant in Queenstown – the food isn’t quite as refined as a couple of other places, however the price is great and the vibe is familiar.
As the menu suggests (see picture) the produce is all sourced as locally as possible and is as fresh as possible. The menu is italian, pizza, pasta, and meat. I haven’t even considered the pizza or pasta – the “3 hour slow roasted 90 day aged Hereford rib-eye baked gratin, seasonal veg, whole garlic & pinot jus” or “Wild fiordland venison, bacon arancini, Sicilian caponata & cherry balsamic” are far too tempting. To make matters even better, the prices are great – any one of these mains for $30 would be a steal but the entire menu is downright outrageous. Couple this with the fact that the portions are quite large and not only do you have brilliant food, it is at great value.
The food isn’t thae only thing going for it, the service is great; friendly, prompt and courteous and the wine list is well considered, a good range of prices and varieties but nothing over the top or pretentious.
What more can I say? Luciano’s probably isn’t going to feature on the list of New Zealand’s best restaurants but it damn well should. It encapsulates everything that the south holds dear – great food, good produce and a warm friendly atmosphere.
The duck and goose liver pate. I’m not normally a fan of pate however this was sweet and rich but not the flavour wasn’t too overpowering.
Slow cooked rabbit and hare ragu with brioche and chutney. I’m a sucker for ragu and this didn’t fail to impress. The gamey meats are perfectly suited for slow cooking – it falls apart perfectly but still maintains a great texture in your mouth. Served with brioche and chutney what more can I say?
Half a duck w baked kumara & leek, green beans, toasted almonds & caramelised orange sauce. I only tasted a little bit of the duck and the meat was beautiful but the skin was a touch too fatty. As far as I’m concerned this was the only blemish and perhaps hard to avoid.
The main attraction. Wild fiordland venison, bacon arancini, Sicilian caponata & cherry balsamic. If I didn’t like all the other food so much, I’d say this was my favourite dish. There’s something about venison that makes me wish for a baby’s bib so I don’t have to hold the drool in my mouth. This was no exception. The sweetness of the balsamic reduction cut through the weight of this dish brilliantly.
Rhubarb crumble with berry sorbet. Warm, comforting rhubarb. Sweet, acidic sorbet. Almond meal crumble. A well-balanced almost savoury dessert.You should follow me on Twitter.
Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time in Queenstown. I lived there for about 18 months and have been for a couple of holidays before and since. Needless to say, I love the place; it has a unique combination of good food, great bars, plenty of things to do and see and a truly amazing surrounds and that is without mentioning the wine. Having just spent the better part of 8 weeks in Queenstown juggling eating, drinking, snowboarding and working I’m happy to be home yet sad to leave – it has been a great 2 months.
I don’t think I could say that over the 2 months we’ve eaten at every good restaurant in the resort – but we’ve damn well tried and I think the only restaurant on our list that we didn’t get to was closed for a private booking on our final night in town. There has been lots of meals, plenty of wine, a few photos and about 67 hamburgers to write about so it might span a few posts.
A few of the highlights from this trip have been:
- Northburn Station: Spending the afternoon talking to Tom and Jan about the young winery and function centre that is Northburn Station.
- Botswana Butchery: I’m a sucker for massive pieces of roasted meat so the slow-cooked lamb shoulder took me hook line and sinker.
- Eichardt’s Private Hotel – Far and away my favourite place in Queenstown, the cocktails are always great and the whole place makes you feel like a king.
- Motogrill – Being treated like a regular after not having been there for 18 months.
Driving into Queenstown is quite an experience, following the winding Kawarau River down through the Gibbston Valley and the Kawarau gorge is the sort of drive that you can’t stop looking around in amazement. The problem with looking around with your mouth wide open, is that you might miss the amazing vineyards either side of the road. Now it isn’t just the architecture and landscapes they are built on either, rumour has it that the Pinot Noir is pretty good. Today, I took the opportunity to test that theory – I woke up around 1, jumped in the car and headed to the closest (well not the closest) but the first winery.
Chard Farm, is a beautifully understated vineyard perched on the cliffs of the Kawarau gorge on the old (1860) Cromwell-Queenstown road. The buildings are massive Tuscan-inspired warehouses which were built in 1993 specifically for the vineyard. It is one of the oldest wineries in the area and certainly feels like it truly is part of Central Otago – the clerk at the cellar door spoke like he had been a part of the furniture for the best part of the last 40 years and the wine wasn’t too bad either.
We started by tasting the “CO2” the 21st birthday bubbly, it’s a really refreshing and light bubbly, which really doesn’t have too much more than bubbles in common with champagne. The unwooded chardonnay was a very easy drinking white with very subtle flavours, it’s certainly not what I think of when I think Chardonnay. The Pinot Noirs were all good, if a little too subtle with “2006 the Viper” being my pick, it has a great peppery note and blackberry flavours. Probably the spiciest of the wines we tasted.
At the end of the day, I wish I had have been to Chard Farm last, I think I would have appreciated it more at the time.You should follow me on Twitter.