What’s On My Plate – The Queenstown Edition

I’ve just come back from a week in Queenstown with Sarah (which I’ll tell you more about later – it was sooooo good to be back in New Zealand) so this month’s what’s on my plate comes to you from there.

This isn’t my first time in Queenstown and I’ve told you about other Queenstown restaurants before (try this post); it has, however, been way too long between visits. Anyways, here’s where we ate (and drank). While these posts mightn’t look like it, we did practice some moderation… Most days we either had brekkie or lunch – but not both – and we didn’t eat dessert. Always, though, there was mulled wine…


Vudu Cafe and Larder is still my fave. That could possibly be because I used it as the inspiration for Beach Road Cafe in my Queenstown novels (Wish You Were Here, Happy Ever After and The Little Cafe By The Lake). The queues at breakfast would tell you though that this place is good.

The portions are large enough to set you up for a day on the slopes, but as Sarah and I weren’t skiing, we judiciously didn’t clear our plates.

The Vudu bennie

She had the Vudu Benedict – low and slow-cooked pork belly, poached eggs, potato loaf, apple cider hollandaise, crackling salt and microgreens – and I had curried potatoes served with tomato, poached eggs, labneh and chilli oil with naan to wipe up the yummy juices.

Joe’s Garage

If you’re after a bacon roll, you can’t go past here. It’s quirky, quick, and has a great vibe.

I had a bacon and egg roll and Sarah went for the pikelets with jam and cream.

Other options…

While we didn’t eat there this time, Fergbaker does a great line in ready-made egg and bacon rolls, and their pastries are great – as is evidenced by the queue. Fergburger does breakfast burgers, but again, be prepared to queue.


Madame Woo

If it’s your first time in Queenstown do the Fergburger queueing thing (and yes, it is a thing), otherwise…

Madame Woo’s is great for Malaysian street-style food (although I don’t think it’s as good as it used to be), as is Hawker & Roll.

Head down to the Steamer Wharf (you can’t miss it) and take your pick of lakeside cafes. We like Pier, Public Kitchen & Bar, and Ivy and Lola’s. I love the vintage bric-a-brac at Ivy and Lola’s – especially this repurposed piano.

This seafood chowder from Ivy and Lola’s was the business on a cold day.


Okay, here you’re spoilt for choice – but you will need to book.

I’ve told you before about Rata and Botswana Butchery, but on this trip, we ate at:

Blue Kanu – Asian Pacific Fusion (Polynasia) with fabulous food and a great vibe. Sadly too dark for decent photos, but everything we had was fantastic. The torched salmon with wakame, pickled vegetables and yuzu; and the Fijian fish kokoda, sago and squid ink crackers with avocado and coconut were stand-outs in an evening of standouts.

White and Wongs. The decor is fab, the cocktail list tempting, and the menu full of Asian street-style food we wanted to try. The crispy soft shell crab was the winner here.

The Bunker. This was our “special” night, and man, was it memorable. Neither Sarah nor I could fault anything about the food or the experience.

We started with a few oysters, moved on to scallops (Sarah) and hare (me) and finished with lamb (Sarah) and venison (me). Just perfect. On the side were truffled potato croquettes and greens.

My tip? Head upstairs before your booking for a glass of red or a cocktail by the fire.

If you’re staying at the Novotel Lakeside or St Moritz, both of these have great in-house restaurants which are surprisingly (for hotels) good. Unfortunately, covid has still left my lungs a tad on the depressed side so we didn’t walk up the hill for St Moritz’s famous lasagne (and lake views) this time, but it is worth tackling the (short but steep) path up.

What else?

It’s winter on this side of the world and Queenstown is a winter wonderland – so that means mulled wine.

Pier do one with a cinnamon-sugar crusted rim, but our fave was the one at Captains Bar and the one at The Bathhouse – both of which were made with Mt Rosa Rose.

This trip was very light on in the scone department, but we did share a savoury one at The Bathhouse – which we had with a mulled wine…#asyoudo

Sarah couldn’t leave town without having an ice cream – and rated this one from Patagonia very highly indeed.

Have you been to Queenstown? Any foodie recommendations?

Linking up with Donna from Retirement Reflections and her co-host Deb The Widow Badass Blog in their #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

34 thoughts

  1. Oh Jo, this all looks so yummy! You did well and I love a mulled wine 🙂 Can’t wait to get back to NZ sometime soon.

  2. Well, that was certainly a feast for the eyes. Sarah’s choices at the Bunker are exactly what I would have picked. Your wine glass photo by the fire is perfect. I’m sure that moment set the tone for the entire evening. I liked your Asian choices also. Definitely my kind of food. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip.

    1. That glass of red (local Central Otago pinot noir) was just flipping perfect. It was sooo good to be back.

  3. Oh my! I really shouldn’t be reading this before I’ve had my breakfast. Now I have to content myself with a boiled egg or some leftover oatmeal 🤣. Wonderful pictures and descriptions of a fabulous foodie trip!


  4. Your food descriptions alone make me want to go back to New Zealand (along with many other reasons). I’m so glad that you and Sarah had such a wonderful trip. Awesome to see the inspiration for Beach Road Cafe!

  5. Hi Jo, Everything about Queenstown is amazing, and especially how you were able to spend the time there with Sarah.💕 I forgot about mulled wine, especially with Summer here. I may have to investigate a Sangria recipe instead for now. The meals look exquisite, a feast for the eyes. New word for me “Polynasia.” Squid ink has become popular around here lately…the pastas… Your photography is exceptional, Jo! Thank you for sharing. 💕

    1. I adore squid ink pasta – it has such a richness to it. Queenstown certainly is gorgeous – as you know – but winter added that certain something.

  6. Between your post and Donna’s I have gained 10 pounds. Snacking galore while I enjoy the photos and descriptions of your delicious feasts. I hate to admit that I don’t even know what many of things you mentioned are!! Poorly worded sentence, too! But bacon roll sounds yum. That torched salmon divine. The potato croquettes, yes, please. But best of all in my culinary opinion…the seafood chowder! Oh my gravy.

    Glad you were able to return to Queenstown and with Sarah at your side.

    1. It’s funny isn’t it how we speak the same language, yet at the same time we sort of don’t. New Zealand is quite similar to Aus, but even so we also have some differences. And yes, that seafood chowder was a good one.

  7. There is something about vacations that allow us to forget all about dieting and healthy eating… and that’s a good thing. Life is too short to be good all the time. I salivated over all the food pictures but especially loved seeing the cafe that was your inspiration for Beach Road Cafe.

    1. Anything consumed on a plane or on a holiday is automatically free of calories. The only concession to moderation we usually have is to skip dessert (which I tend not to eat anyway) and snacks, walk in between, and keep to 2 proper meals. It’s so easy to over indulge – especially in this town.

  8. So happy you made it over here! And so glad you had excellent culinary experiences. We were in Queenstown last June and ate at Rata that you mentioned and also Madame Woo – the latter was disappointing compared to the one in Hamilton. The Bunker is on my list for the next time! Blue Kanu sounds excellent, though I do wonder when we will get down there again…we are itching to get over to Melbourne and Sydney 🙂

    1. I was so disappointed with Madame Woo. Last time we were there it was brilliant – this time wasn’t nearly as good and the dishes I’d loved (the Hainanese Chicken) was off the menu. I think it’s owned by the same people who do hawker & rolls now…

  9. Jo Queenstown looks like foodie heaven. I’m not sure that I could have exercised restraint. By the way there is a Joe’s Garage in Melbourne that has fantastic food and a cool vibe. I’m wondering now if it’s a franchise.

  10. Glad you and Sarah had a great trip. Beautiful photos and delicious looking food. I’d love to visit NZ. Thank you for your weekend coffee share.

  11. You’re like the Queen of Restaurants (and all things foodie) Jo – I want to be Sarah and have you take me everywhere (do you pay too?) Regardless, I want to be Robin to your food Batman x

  12. I had a very similar dish to the vudu benedict at a cafe near my place. I love crispy pork belly — it’s one of my favorite dishes!

  13. Love Queenstown and now desperately want to go visit again and try out your recommendations. Food looks amazing – thank you for sharing your travels and I’m glad you had a good time.

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