Home' The Mirror Queenstown Lakes : April 24th 2013 Contents 12
The Central Otago Regional Choir
and Chamber Orchestra
The Armed Man
A Mass For Peace
Friday April 26th - 7.30pm
St Andrew's Presbyterianv
Saturday April 27th - 7.30pm
St Andrew's Presbyterian
Sunday April 28th - 2.30pm
Dunstan High School Gymnasium, Alexandra
Tickets Available from
Adults $20.00 - School students - free
Door sales available
Wilkinson's Pharmacy - Queenstown
Lakes District Museum - Arrowtown
Paper Plus - Wanaka
Summerfield's Pharmacy - Frankton
Budge's Pharmacy & Bookshop - Alexandra
Paper Plus - Cromwel
Living up to a well-earned reputation
Wai Waterfront Restaurant
Address: Steamer Wharf, Lower Beach St, Queenstown
Phone: 03 442 5969
Hours: 7pm till 10pm seven nights a week.
Rating: Food 4/4, Service 4/4, Atmosphere 2/2.
Reviewed by: Grant Bryant.
All good: Main dishes at Wai on Queenstown's Steamer Wharf: Gurnard, complete with black squid ink sauce, saffron
risotto and chorizo crumb (front), and Blue Cod with pistachio crust.
Wai not: Get to Queenstown's steamer wharf for top food and service at Wai.
Chef deserves accolades for innovation
Wai has a top reputation as a
mainstay of fresh seafood and top
service -- and judging from our
visit, that s for a reason. We
arrived at 7.15 on a quiet Tuesday
that got busier and busier for this
Steamer Wharf hotspot.
While there s lots on offer other
than seafood, we thought it d be a
bit silly not to go for what Wai s
known for -- so it was fish ahoy.
We started with breads and
spreads ($8.50), which was fresh
baked and awesome, then thinking
we d get straight into mains we
were pleasantly sidetracked by
our chef/waitress combo. Our
waitress, bringing over some soup,
said the chef would like us to try it.
Now, if you get this offer take it,
because cauliflower soup with
toasted oats, roast garlic and
chives may not immediately say
I m delicious -- but trust me it is.
Also to be singled out for special
treatment makes you feel, well a
bit special really, so thanks Wai!
(This was not based on us being
recognised as reviewers.)
After this decidedly pleasant
sideline, we went for the mains. I
chose the East Coast Gurnard,
saffron prawn risotto, cockles,
mussels, chorizo crumb with
paprika oil ($38), while Ames
ordered the local market fish with
pinenut and pistachio crust, raisin,
cauliflower, artichoke and curry
Being a North Island east coaster
who grew up catching lots of
gurnard, I asked which east
coast? to discover this was South
Island east coast, but no worries, it
was still beautifully firm succulent
fish which segments off on your
forktip in nice bite-sized pieces.
The saffron prawn risotto and
chorizo crumb and paprika oil
really set this off, elevating the
spice and heat factor and turning
this dish to a real gourmet
experience. I was a bit scared of
the healthy dollop of squid ink that
came with this dish, as I figured
anything a squid squirts while its
under peril wouldn t be too tasty,
but was wrong, and black squid ink
sauce gets a big tick from me.
Ames market fish was the last
piece of blue cod left for that
night, which the waitress kindly
saved for her. Again, a deliciously
firm fillet, cooked perfectly. The
pinenut and pistachio crust was
the key to this dish s success and
the cauliflower flavour of the
sauce was a reminder of that
amazing soup. For a shared side
we had truffled potatoes with
chives ($8.50) which was a great
accompaniment for the fish, and
big enough to round things out
Our waitress was great, shifting us
to a table with a prime view of
Lake Wakatipu when I asked if a
table with a view was available.
While she looked mystified on my
squid ink sauce commentary, I
don t expect everyone to be as
fascinated with animal s defence
mechanisms as me, but she got
points for at least trying to engage
with the effort of a smile and nod.
Of course the key to our service
experience was the soup
compliments of the chef .
However, even if we didn t get the
special treatment, the service
level was still way up there, and is
obviously a carefully considered
point of Wai s whole operation.
Obviously a waterfront location
with killer Lake Wakatipu views
does 99.9 per cent of the work
here, but an understated
ambience of simple sophistication
fills out the remainder perfectly.
Paintings by local artist Simon
Morrison-Deaker give things a
local cultural flavour, so all bases
are covered here.
Top food, service and atmosphere
-- all well considered to
complement each other, have
obviously given Wai the top notch
reputation it deserves. However, it
doesn t look like there s any
danger of anyone involved sitting
back on their laurels and letting
standards slip. I say this because if
a chef is passionate enough to be
making new things like the
cauliflower soup, trying them out
on likely looking customers, shows
real innovation, care, and flair. He/
she knows that s gonna make any
diner s night, and it made ours.
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