The Fat Lamb is all about celebrating New Zealand food, specifically fresh lamb and produce from growers around the local region.
Located in one of Queenstown’s oldest buildings, Eureka House in the Mall, the original schist walls create the perfect backdrop for the farmhouse style restaurant – elegantly rustic, warm and inviting and there is an immediate connection for diners to the quintessential New Zealand high country where the restaurant’s namesake originates.
Chef, Martin James, speaks passionately about the restaurant’s paddock to plate ethos.
“Our focus has been on fostering relationships with individual farmers and in doing so we can source the freshest, highest quality lamb from local growers, which undoubtably results in the tastiest most succulent dishes being presented to our customers. You can taste the freshness, it’s phenomenal.”
“To enhance this beautiful product and its various cuts, we draw on flavours from around the world. I think the Persian and Mediterranean flavours really bring out the best in lamb, so I have used them a lot in the menu.”
Tourists are loving the Kiwi experience The Fat Lamb offers.
“Our food is rustic, tasty and fresh and people are raving about it. The back to basics approach done well is really resonating with visitors to New Zealand. People coming to New Zealand know us for our lamb – we want to give them the best we’ve got.”
Martin also enjoys the relatively low environmental impact of lamb.
“Growing lamb uses much less water than growing beef, making it one of the most sustainable forms of protein. From a nutritional perspective it has as much omega 3 as salmon.”
Although lamb has star status on the The Fat Lamb’s menu, seafood lovers, vegetarians and people who want a beautiful cut of steak are also well catered for.
“Our menu is family-friendly and ranges from burgers to lamb shoulders and a wide variety in between. The menu changes frequently so we can use the freshest seasonal produce,” says Martin.
The Fat Lamb offers a domestic only wine and craft beer list and where appropriate, they also use locally sourced spirits. “This allows us to concentrate on sourcing special and unique products from smaller producers to showcase the diversity and regionality of our country.”
Chef’s Choice Ask Martin what his favourite dishes are on The Fat Lamb menu, he is initially hesitant because he “just loves” the whole menu. But if he has to choose, firstly it’s the lamb rump marinated with lemon rosemary and cumin on braised lentils, eggplant, confit tomatoes and natural yoghurt. “A lovely earthy flavour. Wash it down with some pinot, it’s a classic.”
Other specialities he would choose are;
- Ribs – Ouzo, thyme, maple, fennel, apple – “it’s a breath of fresh air.”
- Provence Rack of Lamb – chive, new potatoes, preserved carrots, chargrilled spring onions, minted peas – “best lamb I’ve ever tasted.”
- Pea, Feta and Za’atar Fritters – with a salted cucumber, grape, lemon and mint salad
- Braised lentils, grilled eggplant, fermented beets, sumac, natural yoghurt, fresh herbs.
- Chocolate Nemesis – baked chocolate mousse with stewed cherries. “This dessert is so decadent, I can’t go past it.”