To end off my recent trip to Queenstown, our group thought we’d spend our last night at a nice restaurant. The Amisfield Bistro is about 15-20 minutes drive out of the main city and is attached to the local vineyards. The bistro looks like a scene taken out of a movie; it’s a large brick building surrounded by an open picturesque landscape with mountains in the background that truly takes your breath away.
Upon entering, the place is well lit with extremely high ceilings with exposed beams and wooden furnishings. It had a very rustic vibe that sets a unique dining atmosphere. There’s also a cellar attached to the bistro which allows for sampling and sales of their wines.
Tonight we are eating from the “Trust the Chef” menu. For NZD$55 pp, the chef will dish up two starters, a seafood and meat main for each person. We’re only getting food (with our own separate order of wine) but for a little bit extra, you can get matching wines and a dessert.
Duck Rillette with Spiced Plum Jam and Toasted Bread
First up is our entree which features a rillette, which is similar to a pâté. The duck meat under the jam is juicy and flavoured well thanks to the sweet sauce. One good thing about it is that it isn’t anywhere as fatty or oily as pâté and it is devoured in no time.
Chickpea Soup with Garlic Oil and Crustini
The next starter is an incredibly creamy soup with a crunchy piece of bread which we suspect has been deep fried. The soup takes like vegetable soup or even purée. The texture is quite thick for a soup and comparable to slightly watered down mash. There is also a garlic aftertaste as the oil lingers in your throat.
Pan-fried Salmon, Cauliflower Puree and Brown Butter Sauce
Our seafood main comes out with two small pan-fried salmon fillets. These are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but lack flavour as I cannot taste the brown butter sauce at all. The purée is also much too buttery and does not have enough cauliflower flavour.
Salad with Manuka Honey Dressing
A salad comes out to accompany the mains which consists of leafy greens. I can’t taste the honey dressing at all and it tastes like raw salad leaves with olive oil and salt. I find this a bit peculiar as I’ve never had a salad with salt sprinkled on top before.
Braised Lamb Shoulder with jus and Mash
Finally, our last dish comes out and the meat main is spectacular. On a wooden board, we are presented with a large lamb shoulder with jus and also a side of buttery mash. The lamb has been cooked for 6 hours and is extremely juicy; we can see juices coming out as we carve it up. It had retained its natural flavours and could use with a bit more seasoning but is otherwise cooked well.
Overall, Amisfield is a great way to enjoy a hearty dinner with sweeping mountain views and locally made wine. For 4 courses, the price isn’t too bad either provided you’re happy to trust the chef.
Amisfield Winery & Bistro
10 Lake Hayes Road, Rd 1
Queenstown 9371, New Zealand
P: +64 3 442 0556