Chefs chime in on their favourite dining places
High profile Queenstown five-star chef Ben Batterbury stars in a unique international insider’s guide to eating out from the expert’s perspective. British publisher Phaidon went straight to the mouths of 400 top chefs – the best palates on the planet – to compile ‘‘Where Chefs Eat’’ – a comprehensive guide book to 2000 of the world’s best eateries. Batterbury, himself a Brit, is one of a handful of New Zealand chefs, including Al Brown, Michael Meredith and Bevan Smith, handpicked for their opinions and one of only two in the South Island. The Rees Hotel’s True South Dining Room executive chef filled out a survey last year answering questions 0n everything from his favourite late night food spot and bargain meal to his ‘‘local favourite’’ and the restaurant he would travel any distance to eat at. ‘‘The book came out last week and it was so long ago that I’d forgotten all about it,’’ Batterbury said. He was pleasantly surprised and very honoured to discover that his opinions were starring alongside some of the world’s top chefs. Fishbone Bar & Grill was Batterbury’s ‘‘local favourite’’ for its ‘‘good quality, honest and consistent food in a good atmosphere’’ – a ‘‘lively joint where the interior decor was as sparklingly fresh as the celebrated seafood they serve’’. Atlas Beer Cafe was his favourite late night spot. ‘‘That’s my social haven – my escape from reality - for a quiet beer after work.’’ The place he frequented most often was Kappa Sushi – ‘‘the best Japanese food in town’’. Naturally Queenstown’s legendary Fergburger got the big tick from Batterbury. Meredith recommended MasterChef Josh Emett’s new Rata Restaurant. Queenstown came out tops with 13 restaurants and cafes named, closely behind Auckland with 19 chef’s favourites. Other top local eateries named in the book included: @thai, Solera Vino, Yakitori Daruma, Amisfield Bistro, Hikari Izakaya, The Bunker, The Cow and Vudu Cafe and Larder. Federal Diner was the only Wanaka restaurant to make the cut.
Top nosh: Queenstown five-star chef Ben Batterbury, centre, tucks into delicious flounder at his ‘‘local favourite’’ Fishbone Bar & Grill served by co-owners Mark Godden, left, and Darren Lovell.