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“Experimental dining experience with mixed results”

True South Dining Room
Ranked #42 of 268 Restaurants in Queenstown
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $23 - $30
Cuisines: Contemporary
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed February 11, 2014

This hotel restaurant is small and is aimed at those looking for a fine dining experience. If you’re fortunate enough to have a table near the windows the view of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables is picture-postcard stuff. Bookings are encouraged. Whilst most guests were dressed smartly, in keeping with many restaurants in New Zealand which we visited, there is no dress code as such.

On the night we visited, whilst staying at the hotel, it was a full house but by coincidence we got the exact same table as we’d had on our previous visit some years before - it had a view and was near the fire so we scored on both counts!

From table settings, to food presentation and service everything is geared up to make a good impression.

The menu features between six to eight choices for each course - most of which could be described as having a “different twist“ with the use of less obvious ingredients many of which are apparently sourced in the region. Our waitress was able to answer some questions we had about the menu without referring to the chef. The wine list is large and focuses entirely on New Zealand and French wines. We opted for a bottle of Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc.

We were given an Amuse Bouche whilst we waited which was tasty - I managed to get extra since my wife isn’t a fan of salmon which was one of the items featured.

For starters I had Scallops with crispy pig’s head, pumkin miso puree, pickled turnips & nam jim dressing and my wife had soup - pea & mint gazpacho with lemon, ricotta and pine nuts. I was familiar with the scallops (which were the smallest I’ve seen) but had no experience of the other ingredients however these went down well enough. The soup, a definite pea-green colour was apparently enjoyable too.

For mains we both choose Merino lamb served with Toulouse sausage, salt baked beet, olive caramel and salsa verde. The lamb portion was fairly small and neither of us found that we enjoyed the other ingredients to any great extent - the Toulouse sausage in particular was very strongly flavoured and I couldn‘t even finish the portion. A bit disappointing overall.

After a palate cleanser, for dessert I had the Pinot poached pear with hot chocolate dumplings, candied orange and spice ice cream and my wife had Caramel banana, granola, yoghurt, poached fruits and gingerbread ice cream. The chocolate dumplings apart (too dry) we both enjoyed these dishes.

Having finished our wine, to round off the evening my wife had a glass of Misha’s Starlet Sauv Blanc whilst I had a glass of Valli Dolce Vita Riesling dessert wine.

It’s a gamble of sorts trying new dishes (for us) however we understand that the chef , Ben Batterbury, a fellow Brit, was here on our previous visit to the hotel some years ago when we had thoroughly enjoyed every course. This time around we didn’t come away with the same feeling although the dining experience overall was pleasant. Our food bill came to $149/£77, the drinks $80/£41.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Rantin rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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188 - 192 of 287 reviews

Reviewed February 3, 2014

Loved the food and nice service here, and the views of the lake are lovely. However, it is a little small as a space for such a big hotel, and it's not always easy to get a table, plus other tables are close by. Don't let it put you off, the food is lovely. Loved the open kitchen.

Thank Ian R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

Breakfast was good, and the Eggs Benedict was the best thing we had. Didn't have dinner there, so I can't comment on that. Rating it a 4 only because we can't say more about it

Thank Frank S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2014 via mobile

Went here the night after eating at gantleys. What a difference! One of the best meals we have eaten anywhere in the world . Clearly of Michelin star quality. First clue it would be a good night was the wine list. The night before gantleys had some sort of gimmick promoting gibbston valley winery wines. True South had a much better wine list with some vintages of otago pinots going back to 2002. Next came artisanal butter at room temperature with local olive oil. At gantleys you got ice cold pats of commercial butter. We ordered the chefs menu and for the next 2h 40 min we were captured by each And every course. From the quality, presentation, flavors, texture, view and service this was a memorable experience on each and every count

1  Thank tbII
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2014

We were living at the hotel for 4 nights in Jan... Great hotel, friendly staff, fantastic views... Can't complain... One member of staff in particular was outstanding.... His name was Benny.

We ate at the restaurant... I had the tasting menu and the quality of the food was very good in comparison with other such experiences I have had... Not outstanding, but very good.

The service was not good. The degustation menu published on the website is months out of date, the one published on the evening had two items unavailable and there were substitutions... Why not reprint the menu with the substitutions?... The service was extremely slow and I sat between courses watcing a table nearby receiving three course whilst I received one...

The menu was confusing... The oysters weren't available so the amuse Bouche was substituted for them... This wasnt at all clear at the time and on reflection the next day made me think I had missed a course.. And maybe that was why I had an extremely long wait between courses. My understanding of amuse Bouche is a free offering from the chef to his patrons...? Certainly the case in other degustation meals I have had... So that was confusing.

I also had the paired wines with the meal and I felt that the amount of wine was less than I would have expected. Also the restaurant manager just poured the wine and didn't explain anything about it... When I asked about the wine he handed me the bottle and asked me to read the label...

Overall an poor experience which is rather expensive. On reflection the next day I raised my concerns with the hotel manager... Not tripadvsor as the first go... The restaurant manager gave me a call and we had an awkward conversation where he admitted the service was slow... I thought he was very defensive and he offered 'two glasses of bubbles' to compensate...

That was the last I heard... Nothing more from the hotel management.

We didn't take the 'two glasses of bubbles' that's not the point... If the restaurant positions itself as a top class fine dining restaurant in an internationally recognized destination such as as Queenstown. It needs to deliver every time...

It didn't for me.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Frank E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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