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We’re greeted at the exterior of The Postmasters House, the newest addition to the area’s fine dining landscape, and the recipient of our business due to poor treatment at another local establishment. It’s a genteel touch, and in fact the restaurant’s approach is consistent throughout the meal. Small rooms in a classy but homey setting bring warm elegance to the experience, and the service perfectly reflects this mood.

An option to take apéritifs at a hewn-jade bar presents itself, and we settle in for some bubbly while our French-born bartender/sommelier works quietly and efficiently behind the counter. As we sip, our host joins us for some amiable chat on the local and national wine industries. He’s both knowledgeable and connected, and we manage to learn a few things.

We move from the bar to our table, scanning the short and locally-focused menu for food to excite our wonderfully jaded palates. (Too many excellent meals in this country will do that to a person.) My first choice is a salad with manuka-drenched lamb niblets. The lamb is exquisite, with the honey a perfect counterpoint to the savory nature of the meat, but fewer bean sprouts amongst the greens would be preferable. What follows is a pair of strikingly aggressive curries (a local specialty?), one a Bombay-style curry over duck leg, and the other a “jungle” curry of rabbit, with a side plate of palate-cooling vegetables, peppers and poppadom. The Kiwi-Indian theme (which doesn’t, it should be noted, dominate the menu) is carried through to a breadbasket that features salty, lightly-spiced mini-naan in addition to plain white rolls.

For dessert, I choose a quartet of ice creams: fresh peach, intense blueberry/raspberry, hedonistic chili-infused dark chocolate (reminiscent of some exotic gelati I’ve tasted in Sicily), and a shockingly delicious manuka honey/mustard version.

With all this beautiful, flavorful food, there’s a wine list of both breadth and depth. (3/05)


Copyright © Thor Iverson