With my daughter Anna, we stopped at Amisfield Bistro for a much anticipated late lunch on a recent girls trip. We had booked to eat at 3 pm – a late lunch / early dinner. It’s a little like having brunch, but at the other end of the day.
Sitting outside looking up to Coronet Peak through vines and blossom it felt pretty special.
‘Trust the Chef”
Until recently Amisfield has offered an a la carte menu or the ‘Trust the Chef’. However, David Morrison, Front of House Manager and Executive Chef, Vaughan Mabee decided to do away with their a la carte menu as 80 percent of their customers choose ‘Trust the Chef’. The joys of not making decisions about food is liberating. It’s a shared dining experience so all you need to do is voice any dislikes, allergies or in Anna’s case tell them she was vegan.
No amount of dietary requirements seem to faze the Amisfield team. With so many different dishes being prepared in the kitchen, they take everything in their stride. Their passion for localy sourced, seasonal ingredients from the South Island has no bounds. The fish came from Southland and vegetables locally grown in Lake Hayes. Everything is made from scratch, including their moreish breads and variety of butters.
They encourage their guests to relax, sit back and enjoy the experience and this is exactly what we did. In fact, they’re so keen you have a good ‘experience’ they tell you how much time you should allow to dine, depending on how many course you opt for.
Three or five course are offered at lunch and seven at dinner, with matched wines if you want.
Admittedly, they knew I was writing a story for the Herald, but we were assured we were treated like all other guests.
And so the theatre began…
With three amuse bouche my palate was teased with crispy whitebait, char- grill octopus, and fruit paste. Not only were they divine, but the presentation of each dish was inspiring. The fruit paste leaves were nestled on a mossy, leafy log that looked like something from the Hobbit.
This was followed with two entrees and two mains. Although it sounds a huge amount of food the portion sizes are perfect.
The best dish
My all-time favourite dish was the frozen tamarillo. When I smashed it with my spoon, on instruction, it shattered and the blood red tamarillo flowed out. The taste was sensational. I can truly say this was a ‘food experience.’
They have taken their ‘food experience’ to a new level with intrigue and suspense and the creativity that came out of the kitchen that day was memorable.
PS I can honestly say the vegan dishes Anna had were incredible. Visually stunning and as tasty as mine with the same care, attention and thought.