Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Behind The Bunker Door

Hidden behind a rustic door down a back alley in downtown Queenstown, the award-winning restaurant,The Bunker is one of the resort’s best keep secrets.

The secluded, intimate, fine dining restaurant seats fewer than 30 guests at a time and is known for world-class cuisine featuring the best of New Zealand produce.

“We’re always humming and we simply can’t accommodate everyone, so we strongly advise to book ahead,” says head chef, Ben Norfolk.

“With prior notice, we can cater to dietary requirements too – dairy free, vegan, whatever. I hate wasting food so everything is carefully prepared every day. It’s harder work but it’s more fulfilling and it means I can easily alter my dishes to meet requirements.”

Ben and his team at The Bunker are dedicated to sourcing, creating and serving a five-star fine dining experience. Each dish has been refined over the years and is made with fresh ingredients of the highest available quality.

“I’m fine tuning what I do best, I’m putting myself on the plate and I’m passionate about what I do. I like to find things that others don’t do often and make it special – pāua is a favourite. The wild venison is another very good dish. Most of the protein I use is wild and sustainably caught or grown. I only use Havock Farm pork and Provenance bio farmed lamb which is excellent and the next step up from organic produce.”

“The degustation menu is the best thing going, you get a real choice of these dishes and at $120 for seven courses, it’s very well priced,” he says.

Above The Bunker is the restaurant’s sophisticated cocktail bar featuring a roaring fire and a diverse and well-stocked bar. Open from 5.00pm until 4.00am the bar has live acoustic music every Friday night and a DJ from 10.00pm Friday to Sunday.

Ben has collaborated with bar manager, Lewis Donaldson, to create an exclusive cocktail menu matched with desserts – the Dr Rossicocktail with Chivas 12 and Disaranno is served with an almond and hazelnut brittle.

“New for this winter, I’ve worked with Lewis and the other bartenders to create a flavour profile which matches their cocktails. I think it’ll be ideal for those who want a sweet evening snack,” he says.

The dessert and cocktail menu is available from 4.00pm until 9.00pm every night over winter and the bar will also continue to serve its popular cheese fondue, charcuterie and cheeseboards.

“It’s 7.30pm and we’re about to step through a tattered wooden door in Cow Lane, one of the town’s trendy walkways. Inside is a chic restaurant called The Bunker, which for the second time in recent years provides us with the best dining experience in town.”
THE SUNDAY MAIL