The driving force behind the True South Dining Room in The Rees Hotel is something of a celebrity in New Zealand culinary circles and the aptly named restaurant focusing on local and regional produce is regularly in the limelight.
Executive chef, Ben Batterbury, earned his stripes at top restaurants in Europe and found his feet at True South ten years ago, where he has moved through the ranks to now head the restaurant team.
He has appeared on TVNZ’s Good Morning Show, the television series, New Zealand on a Plate, and in the pages of New Zealand Cuisine magazine. His skills with local meats have seen him win several excellence awards from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Ora King Salmon.
Ben says his approach to cooking is first and foremost about keeping it local and seasonal, to show a true reflection of the region.
“The quality of salmon and lamb available here is outstanding, with Ora King being my pick of the salmons. Just about every fruit or vegetable that comes from our local suppliers is amazing. We get outstanding asparagus from Nevis Gardens and the best berries from Double Rock, to name a few.”
True South has a celebrated wine cellar, stocked with a comprehensive collection of wines from the Bordeaux region of France, as well as selected Central Otago labels.
The restaurant was recently awarded a 2019 Best of Award of Excellence by leading wine magazine, Wine Spectator, the second time True South has received this accolade which The Rees general manager, Mark Rose, is immensely proud of.
“To receive the prestigious Best of Award of Excellence for the second year in a row by the top-selling, international wine publication, Wine Spectator, is an amazing and humbling accomplishment for The Rees and its staff,” says Mark. “We strive to exceed all guest expectations in all facets of the hotel experience and continually work hard to update and maintain our wine programme. For True South to be the only restaurant in Queenstown to achieve this award for two consecutive years is an outstanding result and an honour.”
True South’s elegant, sophisticated style combined with its picture postcard lake and alpine views is a superb setting for people to enjoy the hospitality food and wine which is the restaurant’s trademark.
In the words of Ben Batterbury – “We are pretty small and intimate which allows us to be more personable and adaptable with our guests, we have an outstanding view and I hear the food is pretty good too.”