I have a love-love relationship with Queenstown’s The Bunker. I absolutely love everything about it, especially because it was sheer fate that led us there.
After a long day of sight seeing Jack and I were trying to figure out what the easiest and/or laziest meal in the world is? Pizza! Delivered! So we called Winnies, the only pizza joint who delivered to us in NZ. They were unfortunately not “humoring” deliveries that night. (fate?)
After a moan, a groan and a terrible joke about how they need to hire more people I decided to rethink the dinner plans and pull us out of our lazy streak. The Bunker poped into my head immediately. I had bookmarked it in my restaurant folder called, “I Will Eat You One Day” the day before. After showing Jack the menu he was up and in the car within seconds. Swoooooon! What a man.
We spent 20 minutes walking around Queenstown until we nearly gave up and went to Fergburger. It was like trying to find an enemy bunker. But on my last attempt to get us there the lady on the phone mentioned a McDonalds on the corner. We got there within seconds (fate?).
In the small, dark and mysterious space that makes up the restaurant area of the Bunker there are only a few tables, a non lit fire place, a small bar, and dim lighting. Nothing you’ll actually need when the zombie apocalypse comes. I’m ready. Are you?
Okay. Okay, enough. Lets get to the what-we-ordered because my plate was truly THE BEST dinner plate of my short life.
We didn’t realize analyze the menu much. We only saw the words SALMON and PORK and closed our menus assuming the position of ready to order. You can then understand our deep and sincere surprise when we were both given such tremendous dishes.
Mine was perfection. The more fork fulls I had the better it got. I was finding things in there I didn’t think were allowed. Walnuts! Beans! Not to mention the slab of pork crackling I held in my hand and chewed with every bite.
Jack’s salmon was a very different plate but just as delicious, I bet. I’d actually bet a million dollars on that because I know. Jack isn’t a fan of crisply salmon skin you see, but I revel in it, especially when it comes with a red pepper cream and capsicum salsa.
We knew the croquettes would be sensational because of the way our waitress described them. “It’s really just buttered mash potatoes cooked in truffle oil and breaded into another shell of buttered potato. After a tough day the whole lot of us sit out back and munch on them like crazy.” If that doesn’t get you to immediately order them nothing will.
We didn’t have much to say to each other after the meal because both of us hit that state of fullness where you have to take deep breaths, slant your head downward and then a little to the right so only words come out of your mouth. But as full as I was, I have never felt so happy leaving a meal, purely based on the food that is. If I could pay all the money in the world to take a five day intensive course that teaches me how to make everything I had that night I would. Then I’d still be the richest woman of earth; rich with happiness.
Exactly What We Had:
Catalana bread – ciabatta rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil.
Crispy skinned Stewart Island Salmon with kina, lemongrass and coriander
risotto, poached prawn and capsicum salsa and red pepper cream.
Milk poached Airendale Farm pork belly with cider braised cheek, watercress agredolce,
smoked pear and canellini bean salad and apple cider and grain mustard sauce.
Truffle mash croquettes. New potatoes tossed with herb butter.