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Whilst down in Queenstown for the Clicquot in the Snow fashion show, we checked out Wai Waterfront Restaurant. We found it to be one of Queenstown's best fine dining spots - both for its service and cuisine inside, and for its second-to-none location on Lake Wakatipu.
Wai is perfectly placed on Steamer Wharf, immediately in front of the most scenic spot on the lake, and the historic steamship the Earnslaw, which picturesquely billowed steam the entire way through dinner.
Cuisine Magazine gave Wai four stars, as Queenstown’s leading fine dining restaurant, in their 2011 Restaurant of the Year awards. Wai was established by Alex Boyes and Jan Rae and running the kitchen is co-owner and chef Martin James.
Although termed fine dining, it was comfortable and relaxed inside and dressy-casual rather than suit-and-tie for guests. We particularly enjoyed the friendly and welcoming service and our waitress had us laughing so we thought it was more 'fun dining' than 'fine dining.'
Below: Wai has a strong seafood offering and had fresh oysters on the menu when we were there.
The bar at Wai. It has contemporary design and is beautifully fitted out.
Canape of beetroot and cream cheese 'ice cream cones.'
Entrees of cod and cauliflower curry in foreground ($27), and squid ink risotto which arrived topped with a silver dome lid ($27).
The main course: pork (left, $42)) and venison (right, $45). Food was creatively presented as well as divine tasting.
Desserts of apple strudel with apple spheres that burst to release apple juice (right, $18) and homemade sorbets (left, $10.50)
Wai can be found on the ground floor of Steamer Wharf, Beach Street, Queenstown. Dinner is served 7 nights from 6pm. Phone (03) 442 5969 www.wai.net.nz
Megan Robinson 28 July 2012
Photography by Kevin Robinson