Queenstown-based bar and restaurant business The Good Group has opened its third premium restaurant in NZ, Botswana Butchery, in the space that once encased CinCins on Quay.
I’d heard it had been receiving not shining reviews. The person who told me this purports that this is because it’s an out-of-town outfit that have opened it and therefore there is a touch of Aucklanditis in the lashings of criticism. I thought therefore it was up to me, with my unbiased tastes and general worldliness to truly tell you what to expect at Botswana.
We turned up on a fine Saturday evening, quite early as we had not booked and were just squeezed in – and I mean squeezed too. It was a bit like the less awesome tables at Merediths, where the person you are sitting next to (who you don’t know and is at another table) is closer than your dining partner sitting opposite you. My friend gave me the ‘lets run’ look – terrifyingly aware that we were both already on the way, extremely loud when drunk, and about to sit down next to a very twee looking 75 year old (or so) couple.
I calmed the situation by ordering a bottle of Pelorus bubbly and a couple of Bluff oysters and started to flirt outrageously with the extremely delicious Italian waiter from Venice, who was divinely tanned with shining light blue eyes. It’s a great ploy, used by a few of the finer restaurants in Auckland, to use the beauty of the staff to bring in cash. One wants these stellar specimens to be in one’s company as much as possible and therefore there is a tendency to over-order to keep them in your sphere.
The oysters were delicious, fresh, tart and soapy. Our shared Peking Duck was delightful – though with too much of everything but the duck. For my main I ordered a huge yellowfin tuna steak with a mammoth dollop of gribiche sauce (a mayonnaise, egg and herb concoction that suited the fish perfectly). Beautifully cooked and big enough to quench my appetite, I was rather pleased with my selection. My dining partner exclaimed that the steak ordered was the best ever tasted, which I baulked at as this particular comrade has a great penchant for eating a lot of meat.
The couple next to us turned out to be a huge laugh and we chatted away to them through most of the dinner – mostly about the GLBT community. They were so nice that we got up to shake hands at the end of the meal. It’s great to know that getting older doesn’t mean getting duller, or in fact less tolerant. It’s also nice to know that talent in restauranteering in this country is not confined to Aucklanders. Though expensive, this particular Butchery is well worth a visit. | Master Bite