Tuesday, December 29, 2009

KayB's foodie guide to New Zealand

New Zealand is a ridiculously gorgeous country. Everywhere you look there is something new and beautiful to gaze upon.

Late November this year the boyfriend and I set off to spend two and a half glorious weeks driving around New Zealand. Both of our parents had ventured off to the land of the long white cloud at some stage during 2009 so we had plenty of first hand advice to run with. One fact my parents had brought back with them was that food in New Zealand was expensive and horrible. Bugger! How was I going to satisfy my inner foodie for the next two and a half weeks?

It seems my parents were very wrong (possibly aided by the fact that they only ate in pubs during their entire trip!). The Boy and I ate like royalty. Not to say we didn't have a couple of crappy meals, but the good experiences far out weighed the bad. And here are our tips for travelers heading to New Zealand.


The Bicycle Thief.

If you didn’t look hard enough you would trip over this place. Dark, wooden interior bathed only in candle light shelters this place from prying eyes. But once you are inside the darkness is cosy and comfortable.

I am a huge fan of polenta. I think it is terribly under rated but unfortunately I cant spread the love of polenta because I cant cook it!

(Polenta fries $10.50 NZ)

The Bicycle Thief however can cook polenta. The best polenta chips I’ve ever eaten. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. And the boy loved them so much as well, he was actually trying to fit another day into Christchurch just so we could go back for more.

(Coppa Pizza - coppa salami, rosemary, walnut, ricotta, rocket. $30 NZ)

Reviews of The Bicycle Thief praise their gourmet pizzas which aided my choice for dinner that night, while the boy opted for a chicken main.

The pizza was gorgeous, with an amazing freshness added by the peppery rocket. My only comment would be that it was a tad on the salty side with the combination of the salami and ricotta.

(Pollo di Molla - chicken, pistachio, silverbeet ballotine on goats cheese & shallot potatoes with white truffle oil. $28 NZ)

The chicken was perfectly cooked (the waitress even explained to us how you can tell by the colour of the meat as to whether it is cooked correctly) and matched perfectly with the shallot potatoes and goats cheese.


Aggy's Shack - Fish and Chips

Locals will tell you that Queenstown is the last place in the world to be bored. There is far too much to do. And eat. Fish and Chips in New Zealand are supposed to be the best in the world. I was skeptical but keen to test this theory. I only ate fish and chips once in New Zealand and yes, it was the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten.

(Seafood basket for two $30 NZ)

On a beautiful corner of the lake stands a tiny yellow and black shack that sells fish and chips to locals and tourists alike. We go for the ultimate in fish and chip dinning by order a seafood basket for two. Now, I’m not one for shell fish.. prawns, mussels, lobsters, balmain bugs etc. I know, I know, call me crazy, but I will now bite my tongue because these prawns are the best I’ve ever eaten. I sucked all these bad boys down before the boy even got a look in! But he got to eat all the mussels, exclaiming ‘They taste like the sea! That’s how you know they’re fresh.

By the time you get through all the seafood on the top, the chips at the bottom are soggy. But if you’ve eaten all that seafood, chances are you wont have any room left to eat the chips. They are purely there for ascetic purposes.

Or maybe you could feed them to the very friendly locals who are more than willing to take the food right out of your hands.

Wine Tastes - Central Otago Wine Experience.

A fun way to get the night started in Queenstown is to hit up the Wine Tastes - Central Otago Wine Experience. The place is filled with shag rugs and big leather arm chairs. But incase the decor doesn’t set the mood for you, Billy Holiday is playing softly in the background.

(Salami platter)

Head to the counter and grab a wine card, order a cheese platter then head straight to the nearest tasting bar to fill up your glass.

You insert your card into the machine and select the size of the taste you would like. The charge is added to you card which you pay at the end. The majority of wines on offer are New Zealand and the selection changes daily.


Unfortunately I didn't have my camera handy for this experience. It was an impulse stop and one which I highly recommend to anyone heading to New Zealand. Cheap food, cheap beer and the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. We both opt for a classic Fergburger with prime New Zealand beef patty, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli and tomato relish. This is not a burger for the faint hearted. Its the kind of burger you eat with two hands and slather all over your face. You’ll also end up with lock jaw from trying to get your mouth around the entire burger!

Other fun options on the menu include the ‘Bun Laden’ falafel burger, ‘The Codfather’ fresh cod fish burger and the ‘Sweet Bambi’ with wild New Zealand deer and plum chutney.


The Bicycle Thief

21 Latimer Square, Christchurch NZ


Aggy's Shack - Fish and Chips

Cnr Marine Parade and Church Street, Queenstown

Wine Tastes - Central Otago Wine Experience.

14 Beach Street, Queenstown NZ



42 Shotover st, Queenstown NZ


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