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Sharing the Amisfield Experience

Written by Margo Berryman

The Amisfield Cellar Door and Bistro has an international reputation and from its spectacular outlook over Lake Hayes offers some of the region’s finest award-winning wine and food.

The exceptional, timeless building with its schist exterior blends with the alpine environment and is an attraction all-year round for locals and visitors with winter no exception.

“There is a very warm welcome at Amisfield during winter with the indoor fires roaring and spectacular mountain and lake views to take in.  The cellar door and restaurant are open seven days for wine tasting and dining in a relaxed, ambient setting,” says marketing manager Richard Birkby.

Multi-talented executive chef Vaughan Mabee and food and beverage manager Tony Stewart are at the helm of the top tier three hatted restaurant.

“The Amisfield degustation lunch and dinner menu is available from Thursday to Sunday while our new small plates menu is available every day of the week,” says Richard. “The small plates can be easily paired with a wine tasting or enjoyed with a glass of wine or cocktails from the bar and is an excellent way to extend an Amisfield wine experience.”

He says people are welcome to pop in throughout the day and early evening without a reservation, but bookings are highly recommended for the degustation.

“If we are fully booked for lunch or dinner, there is still dedicated space in our fire side gallery and the cellar door to serve the small plates menu.  This means if you arrive without a reservation but would like to taste some wine or have a drink and enjoy some small plates then we can always accommodate you and your group – especially during early lunch and après ski times.”

“The small plates are very accessible and a fine representation of Vaughan’s elevated food style and creativity in dishes designed to share with friends. Both menus are an excellent way to dine at Amisfield and be taken on a food and wine journey that highlights local seasonal ingredients.”

Celebrating Local & Seasonal

The philosophy behind Amisfield is the celebration of the best produce available locally and within season.

The menu at Amisfield always reflects the freshest produce available and executive chef Vaughan Mabee and his team are constantly engaging with food producers and growers to discover innovative seasonal foods to integrate into their dishes.

The changing seasons define what ingredients are available to work with, which means each visit to Amisfield is bound to dish up something intriguing and delicious. The harsh Central Otago winter forces the chefs to be particularly creative with their craft and extend their search for interesting finds locally.

This commitment is at the very core of everything Amisfield produces and the kitchen team doesn’t bring in any foods from outside the South Island. Fresh seafood is supplied by a small, dedicated group of fishermen, and most fish is caught off the wild coasts of Fiordland and Southland. The same goes for the venison from the surrounding hills and lamb that is grown on regional high-country farms.” 

Foraging for food locally is an integral part of the weekly routine at Amisfield and the kitchen team preserves a range of foods to store in the pantry for use over the cooler months. 

About the author

Margo Berryman