17 Marine Parade
Queenstown, New Zealand
+64 3442 6994
After spending the evening wandering around downtown Queenstown, we worked up an appetite for steak. Botswana Butchery is a Queenstown steak institution and with a restaurant in Auckland and in Wanaka, it’s probably the New Zealand equivalent of our Squires Loft. Would it be better than Squires though? There was only one way to find out.
For some reason, there is a butcher’s knife stuck on the door of the little cottage that looks right at home on the set of a horror movie set in Massachusetts. For some reason, this knife is also Botswana Butchery’s logo. Cute, if you’re into that sort of stuff.
More knives! We arrived on time for our 8pm booking and with the sun still barely out, we were pleased to be seated at a table by the lake so we can soak up the beautiful sunset for the first bit of our dinner. We also realised that we were sitting next to two guys from Sydney who we met earlier on a jet boat at Shotover River and after exchanging some pleasantries, we got down business. I love that Queenstown is that small.
We shared a French onion soup with Emmentaler crouton (NZD$16.95/AUD$13.45) for our entrée. The soup was equal parts tart, salty and sweet and I loved that they were generous with both the cheese and onion, making the soup perfectly thick – a far cry from the horribly watery and sometimes tasteless French onion soups that we’ve gotten used to in so-called French restaurants in Australia. In fact, Marty loved it so much that he had to order another bowl for himself.
For drinks, I had a glass of Hawkshead FV pinot noir from Central Otago (NZD$21/AUD$16.67). It was a very fleshy and silky drop; and with plum, cherry and cranberry notes dominating, it was the perfect drink for the chilly Queenstown evening. Meanwhile, Marty decided to order a cocktail. He chose the Brazilian berry (NZD$18/AUD$14.29) for its combination of cachaca, white wine and blackcurrant liqueur with raspberries and blackcurrant.
We both ordered 200gm medium-rare eye fillet steaks which looked exactly the same so I didn’t bother with two photos. The only difference between our steaks was that Marty’s Wakanui eye fillet (NZD$36.95/AUD$29.33) was grain-fed while my Canterbury eye fillet (NZD$33.95/AUD$26.94) was grass-fed.
Our steaks were tender and amazing. Marty decided that his steak was tastier but I appreciated the cleaner taste of my grass-fed Canterbury. The steaks are fantastic on their own but classic sauces such as creamy mushroom sauce (which Marty ordered) and béarnaise (which I ordered) are available for NZD$2.50 (AUD$1.98). For those looking for less pedestrian sauces, flavours such as vanilla butter, redcurrant jelly and firecracker (hot) sauce are available.
Don’t be deceived by the size of our steaks – 200gms can fill you up very quickly, especially after that rich French onion soup. However, that didn’t stop us from ordering sides. We shared a confit garlic potato mash (NZD$7.95/AUD$6.31) and buttermilk onion rings (NZD$8.95/AUD$7.10), both of which were excellent. I liked the creamy potato mash that was punctuated by sweet dabs of garlic while the onion rings were better than any I’ve had at a steak house in Australia.
After all that, Marty decided that he needed another cocktail. And so he had a mojito (NZD $18/AUD$14.29).
Truth be told, I would have been okay without eating dessert but when we saw ‘apple strudel’ on the menu, we knew we had to give it a go. Okay, make that an apple and blueberry strudel (NZD$16.95/AUD$13.45). Given that our dishes were ‘traditional’ in appearance, I was kind of surprised that Botswana Butchery decided to be all ‘wahh deconstructed wahh!’ with our strudel. Not that it really bothered us – we loved every single thing about it: the apple crumble and the dried blueberries, the apple wafers and the vanilla bean custard and most importantly, the crunchy and flaky pastry which was oh-so golden and perfect. And the icing on the cake (literally – sort of)? A beautifully spicy cinnamon ice cream. Oh my!
What I was missing, though, was the cream. We asked our waitress if we could get some cream and her reply was that there wasn’t any cream in the kitchen (um, like, WTF?!). My brow started furrowing but the moment she said that she will ask the kitchen to churn some cream from scratch, I began grinning again. Freshly churned cream to go with an already perfect strudel? Oh hells yeah!
Hans Landa could not ask for more.
Not to be outdone, Marty ordered a crème brûlée with frangelico ice cream, tamarillo compote and chocolate and cherry biscotti (NZD$14.95/AUD$11.87). His crème brûlée was nice but it didn’t blow us away – we blamed the strudel for setting the bar so high.
We highly recommend Botswana Butchery for steak lovers visiting Queenstown. I had friends who visited this beautiful town a few weeks after we did and while they did not go ‘WAH’ over Fergburger (yeah, I dunno…), they certainly did over Botswana Butchery. I would dare say that Botswana Butchery is on par, if not better than our very own Squires Loft and with our Aussie dollar doing so well, it makes Botswana Butchery a slightly better value option. On that note, we say goodbye to the ski fields, the burgers and the cute Brazilian canyon swing guide of Queenstown and a quick hello to Christchurch…