The Bunker’s head chef and Kiwi born co-owner Ben Norfolk has revealed a diverse new winter menu centring on the restaurant’s traditional “Kiwiana” roots.
The restaurant has occupied a hidden spot on Cow Lane since 1997 and Ben says the new menu maintains the focus on locally sourced produce.
“Food is getting very high tech at the moment and I’m down with that, but this menu has a strong Kiwiana influence with traditional ingredients like paua, wild boar, Fiordland venison and lamb from Provenance – a high-quality, ethical company which only supplies two restaurants in town.”
“The Bunker is about true New Zealand fine dining and I don’t want to change that,” he says. “I want to use the best New Zealand ingredients to create something that’s different. From simple mussels to sexy snapper – we’ll mix it up with surprising elements like squid purée and dehydrated kimchi.”
“I think our menu’s Taste of the South degustation option is the real highlight, it’s great value for what you get and is matched with fine New Zealand wines – again, focusing on high-quality, local choices.”
Ben was The Bunker’s head chef between 2009 and 2011 before leaving to work in Australia, gaining experience in Vietnamese and Asian-fusion cuisine. He jumped at the chance to return two years ago to take a partnership in the business and says he “wouldn’t have come back to Queenstown for any other place.”
“The Bunker offers intimate dining with only 30 seats in the main restaurant and a small, private dining room upstairs so we’ve got time to really care for our diners. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with fireside dining and lots of personal attention.
The team are so passionate about hospitality and creating great food. It’s like a playground – there’s nowhere else in the world where you can really play and make the menu yours.”