Mixed bag, but oh, the view!

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Ser­vice:

We called Sky­line Gon­dola and Restau­rant and booked in ad­vance. The cost of $76 per adult or $36 for a child aged be­tween 5 and 12 cov­ered the gon­dola and buffet, free for chil­dren un­der five. There are usu­ally two sit­tings each night and we chose the ear­lier (start­ing at 5.45pm with ta­bles va­cated by 7.45) and were ad­vised to ar­rive with plenty of time as it was busy. They got that right. It was manic with peo­ple, mostly in­ter­na­tional tourists, cram­ming the base build­ing to buy tick­ets. When we even­tu­ally made it to the front of the queue we were told that our book­ing could not be found. Two staff mem­bers later and we were on the gon­dola. At Sky­line we were again greeted by a mass of peo­ple as tour groups were sorted on to ta­bles. We grabbed a drink and were soon ush­ered to a ta­ble in the mid­dle of the ex­pan­sive restau­rant where one of our group found him­self sit­ting on a tray that had not been re­moved from a seat. It was all quite flus­ter­ing and over­whelm­ing and it was with re­lief we wel­comed the ar­rival of Niall – our friendly waiter for the evening.

Food:

We skipped the soup and buns and headed for the deli and seafood starter selec­tions in­clud­ing green and pasta sal­ads, deli meats and an­tipasto. We had to try a bit of ev­ery­thing and Glenda gave the pasta salad thumbs up while the three-year-old ate five serv­ings of deli ham – the only thing she ate all night be­side dessert. Most of us headed for the seafood where the se­lec­tion was over­whelm­ing. The beau­ti­ful whole steamed salmon looked in­cred­i­ble and though Karl’s early chunk was pink and tasty, a new pale salmon had been de­liv­ered by the time I grabbed mine and it could only be de­scribed as taste­less and wa­tery. The tiger prawns, poached mus­sels, and queen scal­lops all looked di­vine but were in amixed bag in qual­ity, in­clud­ing over­cooked and un­der­cooked. The mains seemed to touch on ev­ery con­ti­nent with choices in­clud­ing pasta, Chi­nese, sal­ads (cae­sar with help-your­self an­chovies!) and, of course, the tra­di­tional New Zealand roast. It was a lit­tle dis­heart­en­ing con­tem­plat­ing the long queue for the roast meals but we joined it in shifts. The roast lamb re­ceived mixed re­sponses. Kevin was given a plate of gris­tle but I re­ceived soft, medium-cooked slices. Veg­eta­bles never do par­tic­u­larly well un­der lights but the greens and roasties were pass­able con­sid­er­ing their en­vi­ron­ment, while many of the roast pota­toes (which were pos­si­bly deep fried) were a per­fect ex­am­ple of crispy on the out­side but soft on the in­side. Oth­ers were just crispy. One mouth­ful was enough of the hoki/salmon in pas­try, and the chicken Parmegian was the most con­sis­tently ac­cept­able of the mains. The dessert ta­ble and the cheese se­lec­tion were fab­u­lous. The

All the seafood you can eat. in­di­vid­ual choco­late mousses were my favourite and I may have had more than one. The chil­dren were de­lighted with jelly and ice cream and the luscious pink layer cake which re­ally only at­tracted at­ten­tion due to its colour. There were cheese­cakes, pavlova, tiramisu and it was all pretty good. Tea and cof­fee are also of­fered in the pack­age.

At­mos­phere:

Sky­line restau­rant is big and busy with all the bus­tle of a Tokyo train sta­tion com­bined with a teenage rock con­cert (there were large school groups on the night we vis­ited). It was packed and there must be hun­dreds of seats. While there was an un­pleas­ant num­ber of queues to stand in, I did ad­mire the abil­ity of staff to look af­ter so many peo­ple in such an in­tense pe­riod. How­ever, one look at the amaz­ing view of Queen­stown, Lake Wakatipu and the su­perb moun­tain ranges from this spec­tac­u­lar spot jus­ti­fies ev­ery­thing. Even on amis­er­able rainy day it is some­thing spe­cial.

Suit­able for:

Any­one want­ing to see Queen­stown through the eyes of a pack­age tourist or have ameal with the best view in town. It may be the only buffet in town so if eat­ing all you can in a short space of time is your thing, this is the place to be. It was not the eas­i­est place to be with chil­dren. We did our best to keep the nearby dessert ta­ble un­der wraps as long as pos­si­ble.

Ver­dict:

The food and the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at Sky­line was a mixed bag. The hus­tle of hun­dreds of peo­ple all eat­ing within a two-hour pe­riod mixed with mind­ing chil­dren meant there was al­ways some­one com­ing and go­ing from the ta­ble and we re­ally didn’t eat to­gether. In terms of the food, next time I think I’ll head straight for desserts and top up with a few savoury items if I feel in­clined. But the view is un­beat­able and worth al­most ev­ery penny just to hang out at 300m above our favourite lake­side town.

Photo: DEB­BIE JAMIESON 627846887

Sky­line Gon­dola and Restau­rant Ad­dress: Bre­con St, Queen­stown Phone: 03 441 0085 Li­censed: Yes Hours: Sit­ting times and costs vary ac­cord­ing to sea­son. See sky­line.co.nz for up-to-date in­for­ma­tion.

Over­whelm­ing:

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