Pub atmosphere, menu ticks all the boxes
Not many Queenstown pubs have been around for as long as the Pig ’n’ Whistle. Some might call it an institution. Sure, it’s moved a little and we do miss the beer garden but our recent visit has convinced us it has retained much of its traditional fare.
Our first impression as we wandered inside on a chilly Thursday night was that this was a very blokey place.
Being the Thursday before Easter, it was packed with tradesmen enjoying a beginning-of-the-long-weekend drink.
It was like a typical Friday night at a Kiwi pub.
There’s a great outdoor space for sunny afternoons while the inside is warm and inviting with amix of quirky and historical pictures around the walls.
We were happy to sit in the main bar but noticed there was a quieter and more spacious space upstairs with a pool table.
We helped ourselves to menus and learned there was a children’s menu also (with colouring and puzzles on the back – and a container of crayons) when we asked at the bar. We asked to set up a bar tab but were assured it would be fine to have drinks put on our table.
We appreciated that a staff member popped over to take our orders.
Our meals arrived in good time, except the girls’ ice cream desserts which seemed to get lost somewhere before their eventual arrival. Extras requested (tomato sauce, more serviettes) were no problem.
The menu is long with a bit of everything from starters and light meals (from light bread $9 to calamari $16) to lunch specials (only $9 for bangers and mash with peas and gravy); from ‘‘pub favourites’’ (fish ’n’ chips, beef roast) to the main fare.
Karl chose the Beef ’n’ Reef – 200g ribeye steak, topped with prawn skewers, served with fondant potatoes, garden salad and garlic butter ($29.50) and he loved it. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium, there were two full skewers of juicy prawns and the potatoes were crisply roasted.
I liked the sound of the Jamaican Pork Belly ($25), though harboured some concerns the authentic West Indian spice marinade, creamy coconut sauce, pea and bacon couscous and naan bread might have been a few too many mixed flavours. I was right. Each element was pretty good on its own but not comfortable companions. The pork wasn’t as melt in the mouth as I had anticipated either.
The children had a surprising number of good choices including a roast meal with vegetables and bangers, mash and peas but our kids predictably chose the cheeseburger and chips ($9.90) and fish and chips ($10.90). Both included a free drink.
The cheeseburger had a thick and juicy pattie and while the child didn’t care at all that it was only meat, cheese, tomato sauce and bread, this mother would have appreciated a green lettuce leaf or a slice of tomato to ease my conscience about taking the kids for a pub meal.
The fish and chips were quietly and completely consumed by Madam 4 in the corner. The quietest time at our table all night. The kids finished the night with an ice cream sundae each ($4.50). Chocolate was the only option so we had one with and one without the topping.
So far as pub meals go in Queenstown the Pig ’n’ Whistle offerings cover all the bases and then some. The prices are reasonable and the atmosphere homely. Despite first appearances on the night we dined, it is family-friendly.
Tempting: Beef ’n’ Reef from the Pig ’n’ Whistle.