Just in time for the festive season Queenstown has three new stars on the culinary block – a sparkling new waterfront destination with a fresh young chef and a menu to match.
The Grille at Eichardt’s – an all-day bistro, lunch bar and cocktail lounge – officially opened its doors this week in prime central position on Queenstown’s waterfront. It has unobstructed views across Lake Wakatipu and snow-capped peaks beyond, and several indoor / outdoor dining spaces.
Linked to Queenstown’s heritage hospitality icon Eichardt’s, The Grille is part of a major new development that includes the 150-seat restaurant downstairs, two new premium waterfront suites on the second level and connecting into the luxurious Eichardt’s Private Hotel, and an uber-exclusive penthouse accommodation with some of the best views in town.
Streetside the building is an example of how contemporary New Zealand architecture can line up sensitively alongside one the country’s oldest stone buildings. Designed by award winning architect Michael Wyatt, the NZ$6 million development has effectively doubled Eichardt’s Marine Parade footprint. It will soon also include two new premium retail boutiques occupied by Louis Vuitton and World.
With dining spaces opening straight off the street and the laneways behind the hotel, The Grille will offer classy bistro style fare. The sophisticated interiors (think NYC bistro or French brasserie) will complement an authentic ‘local’ experience based on home-grown, free-range, and locally sourced produce delivered with Executive Chef Will Eaglesfield’s signature style.
Originally from the UK, Eaglesfield came to New Zealand after working in London and Europe. While his culinary influences are a mix of all these experiences, with a penchant for the colours and simple flavours of the Mediterranean, 10 years in the Queenstown Central Otago region have turned him into a keen advocate of local produce and the menu is a clear reflection of that passion.
“We’ll be continuing the same ethos we use in our tapas; everything homemade as much as possible, the best meat from pampered animals, our home-grown produce, every dish a labour of love. But with the brand new kitchen tricked out for curing, smoking and grilling we’ll be taking it up a notch.”
“The crayfish meatballs, for example, are chargrilled for a little extra smoky flavour and served with handmade tagliatelle and a rich tomato broth infused with Otago-grown saffron. This menu really is unique in the sense it offers locally foraged produce and distinctly Queenstown flavours, with a splash of worldly indulgence.”
While patrons will be drawn to the views from the front, the laneway end of The Grille features a large communal table and lunch bar with stool seating – think oysters, bubbles and beer on ice. Linger over a velvety local pinot or one of the tantalising signature cocktails (inspired by historic local personalities) or, for those on the run, choose from a selection of fresh open sandwiches for dine in or takeaway, from venison prosciutto, tomato, hummus and dukkah to brisket, mustard & caramelised onion.
The interiors of the new bistro are as impressive as the menu. The slate tile floor blends seamlessly into the existing Eichardt’s Private Bar’s atrium while dark stained timber panels adorn the walls and ceiling. Bevelled mirrors, floating shelves and antique wall lights and leather banquettes complete the perfect setting for guests to enjoy one of The Grille’s signature cocktails as the sun goes down.
The Grille is located on Marine Parade, Queenstown. The restaurant seats 150 people and the opening hours are breakfast 07:30-11:30; lunch 11:30-17:00; dinner 17:00-late.
The Grille at Eichardt’s sample menu
Made from the tail meat of the legendary Fiordland crayfish, the crayfish meatballs are chargrilled for a little extra smoky flavour to produce a dish that is both light and intense. Served on a bed of homemade fresh egg tagliatelle, the shells are reserved to infuse a little bisque flavour into the sauce; a rich tomato broth infused with Otago-grown saffron.
Designed to share, the tomahawk steak is an epic cut of beef; 1-1.5kg of 90-day grain-fed Angus consisting of the ribeye fillet and a substantial length of the rib itself, producing the distinctive shape it is named for. Chargrilling the meat while still on the bone provides extra flavour, and the substantial thickness of the cut guarantees an extraordinarily juicy and tender experience.
The Owner’s Margarita signature cocktail is made with Patron Silver tequila, Cointreau orange liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice served on the rocks with salt on the rim. A modern take on a truly classic cocktail.
Introducing The Imperium, The Grille’s signature cocktail which has been inspired by one of the most famous Italian bars in Milan. Made with premium quality products Kraken black spiced rum, Heradura Reposado tequila and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, the cocktail is finished with spiced pineapple mousse.
Background: Eichardt’s Queenstown
Eichardt’s started out as a bar that has been a Queenstown icon since 1867. Its origins date back to the early 1860s when gold was in the hills and the first pioneers moved into the region. Queenstown’s founder William Rees set up the hotel before Albert Eichardt took ownership at the end of the decade.
Eichardt’s Private Hotel & Bar is owned by Andrew and Sarah Cox as part of the Imperium Collection – which includes The Grille, The Spire Hotel and No5 Church Lane.
Eichardt’s The Penthouse will officially open in mid-December 2016. With a NZ$10,000 per night tariff, The Penthouse comes with a 180º view over Lake Wakatipu, exquisite design and VIP service. Facilities will include a vast terrace with spa, in-suite sauna, 24/7 butler service, private chef and chauffeur.
The development also includes two new hotel suites with lake views and Eichardt’s signature style. These are available at $1950 per night.