You would have been hard-pressed to find another fine dining restaurant of Wai Waterfront Restaurant’s quality in the world, let alone Queenstown, but owner/chef Martin James and fellow owners Alex Boyes, Jan Rae and Megan James have decided to pull back on the fancy and head in more of a rustic culinary direction that works a home-style cooking angle. Having renamed and rebranded the establishment as Public Kitchen & Bar, the menu has been based around recipes handed down over generations such as James’ mother’s trifle that appears alongside another traditional in Pavlova with mint, strawberries and cream.
The lamb (thick cut ribbons of pasta in a rich lamb stew), pork (shoulder in a milk braise with bacon & apples), beef (barbecue short ribs with loads of sticky sauce) and seafood (steamed green lip mussels; Southern clams, white wine, lemon & parsley) are all sourced locally, literally on the doorstep. Even the décor pays homage to the Kiwi heritage with an original red Kiwi telephone box, rescued from Waihi Beach, now doubling as one of the doors into the restaurant. Try Marty’s hand-made sausage, smoked bacon and lentil sauce, a great range of salads and impressive dessert cocktails such as the Chocolate Espresso Martini Vodka, Creme de Cacao and Frangelico shaken with a shot of espresso.
Steamer Wharf, Beach Street, Queenstown
Tel: +64 3 442 5969