Pizza wins hands-down on ho­tel menu

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Ho­tel restau­rants are al­ways an in­ter­est­ing prospect be­cause the hit and miss mar­gin can be so wide, so a good dose of cu­rios­ity ac­com­pa­nied us to the Ho­tel St Moritz’s Lom­bardi’s in-house res­tau­rant. There’s not much park­ing at the ho­tel site on Brunswick St, so we asked about that when book­ing. The good news is they’ll ar­range free valet park­ing if you’re din­ing – so make sure to book and that will be sorted.

AT­MOS­PHERE:

Be­ing up there amongst Queen­stown’s top ho­tels means the ho­tel’s main lobby is invit­ing, with lots of ef­fort thrown at the decor. We get seated in Lom­bardi’s ‘‘li­brary room’’, with an open fire and lots of loungey couches and arm­chairs, which is cosy. I think the ho­tel res­tau­rant hit and miss rate is so high be­cause any pop­u­lar ho­tel has an in-built clien­tele – those stay­ing there – and it can of­ten feel like you are din­ing in a hall guests will be us­ing for their buf­fet break­fast the next morn­ing. Lom­bardi’s have ob­vi­ously tried to side­step this po­ten­tial prob­lem by mak­ing the li­brary room a fea­ture, but I’m not con­vinced a bookshelf with a few dog-eared Wil­bur Smith nov­els and Na­tional Ge­o­graphic mag­a­zines com­pletely solves the sit­u­a­tion – they do get points for ef­fort though.

SER­VICE:

The ser­vice was great. Our wait­ress, Ivana from the Czech Repub­lic, was gor­geous, chatty and at­ten­tive, and earned her­self a tip. The guy at the till did seem a bit con­fused on how to split the bill though, and it took a few goes for him to ac­tu­ally get it right.

THE FOOD:

We’re both re­ally hun­gry, so flag the en­trees in favour of a shared pizza first up – it’s cheaper than two en­trees and fill­ing, and I’m re­ally glad we took this ap­proach. The Tubero Pizza ($20) has a herb and ri­cotta base and comes with honey roasted win­ter vege, home­made fetta and basil pesto. This was re­ally fill­ing and re­ally tasty, and think­ing we’d have to leave room for the main course we got a few pieces put in a doggie bag to eat at home. For mains I went for the Wild Fiordland Veni­son Loin ($37) and Ames went for the Mediter­ranean Mar­ket Fish ($36). The veni­son was good, but not great. Some nice flavours, but it all felt a bit tame for a wild meat from one of the most renowned sup­pli­ers in the world (Fiordland). The King­fish was nicely seared, but as a whole this dish was the equiv­a­lent of a kitchen car crash – too many flavours vy­ing for at­ten­tion just draws at­ten­tion to the fact that well ex­e­cuted sim­plic­ity is bet­ter than try­ing too hard to im­press – so the mains were pretty dis­ap­point­ing. To tell the truth I wish we’d just stuck to the amaz­ing pizza. While we got the vego op­tion it looked like there were some re­ally in­ter­est­ing meat & chicken com­bos on the menu.

VER­DICT:

I find ho­tel res­tau­rant ex­ec­u­tive chefs too of­ten try to push that ‘‘five star feel­ing’’ into their menus when they’d be bet­ter off keep­ing things sim­ple. So, Lom­bardi’s gets the five star rat­ing for its piz­zas, but gets a two star for its mains.

And the win­ner is . . . the pizza for crisp clean flavours, which in my book beats too many com­plex flavours vy­ing for at­ten­tion in one dish.

Lom­bardi’s res­tau­rant @ Ho­tel St Moritz Ad­dress: 10-18 Brunswick St, Queen­stown Phone: 03 442 4990 Li­censed : Yes Rat­ing: Food 2.5/4, Ser­vice 3.5/4, At­mos­phere: 1/2

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