Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Bantry Restaurant,Taupo (NZ) by Big Fil

I know I'm normally a cheap eats and hawker food kind of guy, but one thing we had to do while in New Zealand was try somewhere a bit more upmarket. It was getting towards the end of our trip and there weren't going to be too many more chances left so we headed for The Bantry Restaurant, Taupo.

The Bantry specialises in contemporary New Zealand cuisine. My understanding of what this actually means is limited but I think it's referring to a modern style of cooking based on Mediterranean and East Asian cooking techniques but local ingredients, similar to what which is often called International style in Melbourne. One thing which The Bantry shared with a number of places we visited was a beautiful garden setting. Outside dining was definitely the way to go with the sun out, with a choice between the wooden tables and benches or garden tables and chairs.

Ordering was either from a set three course menu, with (from memory) a choice of two entrees, mains and desserts, or from the normal menu. Hungry Pete went for the three course menu. First dish was the soup of the day, asparagus. While it looked creamy and was a generous serve, Pete felt it was lacking a bit in flavour.

Next was the sirloin steak (medium rare of course). Served with a mashed potato cake and seasonal vegetables, Hungry Pete rated it as above average but not outstanding.

Dessert was the apple and cinnamon turnover. This was the simplest in presentation of the dishes but his favourite on the night.

I decided to go with mains and dessert off the a la carte menu. In a nice touch a complementary appetiser was brought out for me at the same time as Pete's soup. Unfortunately I neglected to note what it was and it was a while ago now, but I do remember thinking it looked good and tasted quite nice.

My choice of mains was the venison with cauliflower cream, radiccio and blackberry jus. Presentation wise I liked the look of the dish when it hit the table, with a sprig of fern to give it that kiwi touch. The vegetables were still nicely firm but I'm not sure about the radiccio. It's a personal thing but this vegetable (I think) has a slightly bitter taste, and while I love sour I'm not a huge fan of bitter. The venison was nicely pink and tender but not quite as good as some of the amazing examples I remember having on the South Island a few years back (I still dream about that venison).

I ordered the lemon tart as dessert, one of my favourites. While a little pricey it was a good tart, nice and tart with the pastry properly crisp.

Good food at a reasonable price in a very pleasant garden setting. Service was undoubtedly the best of anywhere we ate in New Zealand. If you are in the area and looking for something other than the normal fast or pub style meals The Bantry would be a good choice.

45 Rifle Range Road
Taupo New Zealand
Tel: (07) 378 0484

1 comment:

Bureaucrat said...

wow - this place and the food is brilliant!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...