62 Shotover Street
Queenstown, New Zealand
+64 3 441 1486
On our first morning in Queenstown, we were meant to skydive. Because we didn’t want to hurl our guts 15,000 feet over Queenstown, we originally planned on skipping breakfast. However, we weren’t due back into downtown Queenstown until midday so we thought it’d be wise to put a little food in our tummies.
We ended up going to Motogrill, a café on Shotover Street that, to me, screams more American diner than quaint little café. Not that there was anything wrong with that, of course. That said, there were little traces of New Zealand all over the place – from the many bottles of Rocket Fuel sauce to the fresh copies of Queenstown’s local newspaper, you knew that you were not on Route 66.
The front counter may be diner-y but the dining room looked like any café in the inner-city suburbs with books and games in the corner should you have the need to crack open the deck of Uno cards. The only difference was that you don’t get any inner-city hipster snobbery here though; the staff there are down-to-earth and friendly, and I lost count of the number of times any given staff member was able to call a customer by their first names.
Cuisine Magazine said that Motogrill did the best coffees in the Central Otago region so I started my day with a latte while Marty went for a chai tea. The beans are from Wellington’s Caffe L’affare and although my coffee was more more café au lait than café latte, it was decent. It was smooth and delicate, with a chocolate-y flavour though I wished that the milk wasn’t so ‘thin.’ As a Melbourne coffee snob, I wouldn’t say that this was the best coffee I’ve ever had but it’s way better than anything from Starbucks, Hudsons Coffee et al. And Sydney.
Marty also topped up his drinks tally with a fresh juice NZD $5 (AUD$3.97)). The invigorating combination of carrot, celery, apple, watermelon and pineapple not only provided him with the equivalent of one month’s nutrients for the Oporto’s #1 fan but also gave him some much-needed energy for the morning’s activities.
We decided to split a meal. We originally wanted an Acme Dog (NZD$7 (AUD$5.55)), which was essentially a hot dog with mustard and Rocket Fuel. Unfortunately, they must not have done their inventory count properly the night before for they didn’t have any sausages on hand. Bummer. Never mind, we ended up getting a Sloppy Joe instead (NZD $15 (AUD$11.90)).
Motogrill’s sloppy joe is essentially a generous mountain of savoury mince on toast served ‘Moto Style’ and by that, they mean with lots of spices, tomatoes and Rocket Fuel. And if you wanted more Rocket Fuel, there were bottles provided left, right and centre. What is Rocket Fuel? It’s not quite tomato sauce but not quite BBQ sauce either. It’s tangy, Moorish and all manners of awesome in one bottle with a hint of chilli. Yum. To top things off, they slapped on a fried egg for NZD$1.50 (AUD$1.19). We both have big stomachs but to our amazement, we struggled to finish this dish together as delicious as it was. I wasn’t sure whether it was because the white toast that it was served with was dense and filling or whether because we were both shit-scared of our impending sky-diving doom.
The rest of the menu pretty much consists of burgers, sandwiches and the usual bacon and eggs breakfast fare. While they don’t try to reinvent the wheel (which is a GOOD thing), their food is generously-portioned and delicious. If I was a local, I’d definitely be a regular.
Unfortunately, we never got a chance to skydive. There were gale force winds blowing all day that day as well as the following morning. However, this just means that we’ll have another excuse to return to Queenstown for another chance to skydive. And for Rocket Fuel-ed dishes at Motogrill.