Food and Wine Queenstown Restaurants

Enhanced Amisfield Lunch Experience

Written by Margo Berryman

Dining at Amisfield in its impressive contemporary setting overlooking Lake Hayes is an immersive experience and this summer the restaurant introduces a new a la carte lunch menu which enhances the already exceptional culinary experience.

The talented Amisfield team is headed by executive chef Vaughan Mabee and food and beverage manager Tony Stewart. Both bring high levels of competence and expertise to the three hatted restaurant and boutique cellar door.

The finely tuned a la carte option is a fresh take on Amisfield’s unparalleled degustation menu and Tony says it is a welcome and appealing change for regular guests and visitors.

“ In these current times our guests are relishing the opportunity to have more choice in their lives in general and they are enjoying being able to select from a range of hyper seasonal dishes that are a tasteful expression of this region.”

Sustainability and ethical farming practices are at the heart of everything Amisfield sources for the kitchen. Their choice of locally farmed meats, hand caught and speared fish, fresh and foraged fruits and vegetables only come from the South Island and generally from Central Otago and Southland. 

The new daytime menu, served Wednesday through till Sunday, reflects this regionality.

“ It is a reimagining of a la carte dining focusing on foods that have been cooked over open coals in the kitchen and on the courtyard fire outside here. This creates a unique and delicious effect of smokiness and flame on the meat, fish and vegetables served in the dishes,” says Tony.

There are 16 lunch items to choose from each highlighting Vaughan’s impeccable flair for culinary execution. The creative nature, flavour combinations and presentation is “magically multi-storied” and unique to Amisfield’s in-house style.

Foods such as fresh Southland crayfish whole roasted in bull kelp served with Rosé sauce and wildflowers, a whole succulent Royalburn Station bred lamb cooked over embers served with lamb jus or whole freshly caught southern fish served with garlic, parsley and beurre blanc are just some of the impressive options.

Fresh green lip mussels slow poached in Amisfield brut are served taco style in a kumara tortilla with fermented chilli and garlic while the superb award winning paua pie is back, featuring black foot paua and manuka smoked potato in a fine brisee pastry.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is one of sophisticated elegance with an approachable service and everything is executed in accordance with Tony’s exacting eye for detail and superior quality.

“ Part of the enjoyment of this new lunch offering is the interaction diners have with our team as many of the dishes are finished at the table in front of guests by the chef or sous chef responsible for cooking it. This elevates the dining experience and adds a depth of understanding of the beautiful components behind each dish,” he says.

The wait staff and sommeliers are friendly, accommodating and well versed on the menu selections. Their guidance on dishes and their appropriate wine match ensures excellent results and that dietary requirements are well catered for.

Summer tastes

Amisfield produces outstanding quality wines from the cool-climate grapes grown on its 93-hectare single estate vineyard in the Pisa valley near Cromwell. Named the 2020 Riedel Organic Winery of the year Amisfield’s recently released award winning wines are certified organic by Bio Gro NZ reflecting the company’s organic viticulture methods and focus on sustainability.

A vertical wine tasting is a delicious way to sample selected varieties and vintages. During lunch, an Amisfield sommelier takes guests you step by step through a selection of wines to match food choice.

  • The newly released Amisfield Pinot Noir Rosé 2021 is a relaxed, salmon pink rosé

 ideal for summer drinking with lovely fruity aromas of rosewater and strawberry fruit. The palette mixes red delicious apple, ripe raspberry and cream before finishing dry.

  • The complex structured style of Amisfield Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a delightful surprise offering an outstanding mix of fruity aromatics mixed with the gentle smokiness of barrel fermentation. The results are rich and creamy making it a classy match for Amisfield’s daytime lunch dishes.
  • The perfect aperitif style of sparkling wine, the Amisfield Method Traditional Brut 2018 is a delicate marriage of fruity quince, peach and apricot notes and fresh acidity. A seductive lunch accompaniment.

About the author

Margo Berryman