For lunch on Char’s birthday, we stopped off in Arrowtown, a picturesque little town that built up in the 1800’s after they discovered gold in the nearby rivers.
We explored the museum which my Mum really enjoyed, but that Char and I thought was a little bit of an ‘everything we’ve ever found out about Arrowtown’ is in the museum. It was a little confusing as there didn’t seem to be a specific direction to walk around the exhibitions, and there was too much information to take in. That said, we did learn a fair amount about gold mining in the 1800’s.
We had lunch at a really cute restaurant called ‘The Postmasters Residence’ across the road from the museum. Well worth a visit if you’re passing through Arrowtown, or even stopping there.
That evening, we had a special restaurant planned for Char’s birthday supper.
We had booked a ‘Trust the Chef’ menu at Amisfield Winery, just outside Queenstown. The idea was that we would try 4 courses, accompanied by 4 different wines from the vineyard. We started with a very welcome glass of fizz.
Our waitress overheard that it was Char’s birthday, and brought over another course; fried whitebait served with lemon and sourdough. They were so fresh, and the lemon really brought out the flavour. I think, however, that they were served to everyone as a h’ors d’ouevres course.
Our next course was duck rilletes pate with plum chutney served with sourdough. The presentation was really cute, however it was a shame that they didn’t give us new plates after our fish course. Nor did they explain that our fizz was supposed to go with this course too.
Next up was a gazpacho soup. I love gazpacho so really enjoyed this course, however the others found it a little heavy on the garlic. We had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc 2012 with this course. Loving the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs!
Our final savoury dish was roast beef served with a lovely new potato salad- unphotographed because we devoured it too quickly! This was served with a Pinot Noir, that although I loved the taste, I only drank half my glass as red wine tends to give me a headache.
To round off our meal, we shared a trio of puddings; cinnamon donuts with rhubarb and icecream, chocolate and almond torte and a pannecotta with summer berries. These were served with a sweet dessert wine, which although delicious, was very strong!
All the courses used fresh, local ingredients and were incredibly tasty. Smallish portion sizes meant that we could enjoy a bit of everything without feeling too full at the end of the meal. The outside seating area was gorgeous in the late afternoon sun and we thoroughly enjoyed the view.
Our only complaint about Amisfield was the service- we were left waiting by the maitre de for quite some time before being acknowledged, we seemed to have a different waiter for every order, and our dishes and wine came without much explanation. However, our biggest peeve was that our plates weren’t cleared- it wasn’t until we stacked them ourselves after they had sat on our table for 3 courses that they were eventually taken away. I think they may have been understaffed, but our service really let down an otherwise enjoyable meal, and with quite a hefty price tag, we expected more.
If your food and drink were amazing, but the service was sub-par, would you complain? We didn’t because we could see that they were busy, but usually I would make a comment!