Food and Wine Queenstown Restaurants

Flaming Good Food

Written by Margo Berryman

Flame Bar & Grills owners Jonathan Bisley and Lou McDowell have continued to honour the popular restaurant’s South African beginnings since purchasing it in 2016.

Founded 11 years ago by South Africans Grant and Dawn Sneddon Flame has a reputation for its award-winning steaks and international cuisine.

“ South African food is robust and the grill is central to it which is a fantastic platform to evolve  dishes from,” says Lou. “The secret basting sauce used in many of Flame’s dishes is a family recipe of Grant’s and to this day, only the owners know the exact recipe. Our large neon sign above the front door – it began in Africa – says it all.”

Lou and Jonathan have evolved the restaurant and last year moved premises to a prime position in Steamer Wharf and a purpose-built space for 120 diners.

“ Flame is now even bigger and better featuring a bespoke bar area, a large open kitchen with hot specialised searing grills and views of the stunning scenery Queenstown is famous for,” says Lou. “There are three different dining zones with a huge skylight opening over the large new garden room.

African Vibe

From the gleaming circular bar and elegant globe lights to tiled floors and large bay windows, first impressions of Flame Bar & Grill are of one of urban sophistication.

The restaurant’s elevated first floor position overlooking  Earnslaw Park creates a stylish and infectious buzz.

The centralised bar area is a cool, social spot to enjoy one or two cocktails before dining.

“It’s a buzzy setting to start your night out with an enticing cocktail menu, excellent range of craft beers plus Central Otago and New Zealand wines.”

The restaurant has been a favourite haunt for locals since opening and the African inspired menu is a drawcard.

“Succulent, juicy, quality steaks and our world famous sticky ribs are the signature dishes. Our meat suppliers deliver us only the finest marbled beef, aged for at least 55 days, that results in the most flavoursome and tenderest steak experience. Our seafood dishes are legendary, salads are vibrant and fresh and the hand rolled beef and chicken burgers are true local favourites,” says Lou.

Other African inspired delicacies include Boerewors, a homemade South African sausage coil made with beef, cumin, coriander and chimichurri and Mozambique prawns sautéed in hot and spicy peri-peri sauce.

“While people often come here specifically for the steak they are wowed by the dish selection. The Bombe Alaska is a highlight on the dessert menu.”

The high energy operation runs smoothly and efficiently and The Flame crew are friendly and attentive ensuring the dining experience exceeds expectations.

About the author

Margo Berryman