Les Alpes is only metres from Queenstown’s waterfront, and takes advantage of this with lots of outdoor seating, which we went for. However, on the inside they seem to be going for the French provincial/rustic feel, which I’m not a fan of, unless it’s the real thing. However, I think Les Alpes’ main point of atmosphere, and service, is the fact that all the staff are French. The physical attributes of atmosphere take a secondary role when you’ve obviously imported all your staff from France. They provide the atmosphere and the face that you’ll remember when you instantly forget the wallpaper or layout, so I’d say atmosphere is a winner here because of the staff.
The staff are attentive, engaging and charmingly French. There were a few wind gusts coming off Lake Wakatipu before our mains and one of the owners came to our table to make sure we were OK with it. As we nodded she pulled into the famous Kate Winslet pose from the Titanic movie, and we all started singing the film’s theme song. Those kind of antics are gold in the right context.
We got stuck straight into mains which were hearty with a real rustic feel. I ordered the Poulet Roti – which is roast chicken ($26), in this case served with kumara chips and a green salad. Meanwhile Alex went for the Entrecote au beurre cafe de Paris, ses legumes du soleil et pommes frites, which in English translates to angus ribeye steak with cafe de Paris butter, Mediterranean roasted vegetables and french fries ($31). Personally, I like rustic with a twist, but the food here is just straight up rustic. So, the chicken tasted, smelled and looked like it could have been home cooked, and the steak looked like a supermarket cut. The steak came under quite of bit of scrutiny because Alex works at one of Queenstown’s best steakhouses. So, the end verdict was that the steak was slightly overcooked for medium rare. For $4 more you can get an amazing steak at certain other establishments, and for a great steak I’d rather spend the extra and be assured I’ll get something to remember. I didn’t actually realise until later that the fries were missed from Alex’s order, which is a pretty big letdown to any diner’s experience (we were just too busy yarning to notice). On the bright side, the desserts were amazing. With choices made from a cabinet, we picked an eclair ($6.70) and chocolate opera cake ($8), and both were enjoyed immensely.
Les Alpes copped flak in the last review for omitting some of the very basics of hospitality. While they seem to have rectified some of these, bringing a steak main to the table without fries qualifies as another major fail.