Splashing out

Recipes that celebrate seafood from three New Zealand waterside restaurants in Queenstown, Auckland and Gisborne.

To mark Waterfront's 25th anniversary, three popular dining establishments created a recipe for a memorable dish with seafood as the hero.

We’re spoiled for choice in this country when it comes to sourcing good fish and shellfish – whether we catch it ourselves, pretend to have caught it ourselves – or proudly purchase it.

With summer upon us, it’s time to bust out some impressive moves in the kitchen and let the seafood do the talking…

Botswana Butchery

Located by Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown in historic Archer’s Cottage, is the acclaimed premium fun dining restaurant, Botswana Butchery.

Executive chef Thomas Barta heads up this restaurant, along with White+Wongs in Queenstown, having previously led the kitchen at the perennial favourite Harbourside, in Auckland.

Originally from Hungary, where his family owned a fish restaurant, Thomas trained in Europe and had a stint under Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s in Mayfair, London.

Under Thomas’s direction, Botswana Butchery was awarded one hat by Cuisine Good Food Guide In 2018.

Thomas says he finds the restaurant’s lakeside location calming, inviting and relaxing. Queenstown is among the best places he’s visited and now he’s lucky to call it home.

Watching the sun set over the lake from the kitchen gives him positive energy and keeps him focused under pressure – important when leading the big kitchen brigade and doing over 250 covers for dinner service.

Despite the award-winning restaurant’s name, diners will find a good variety of seafood and vegetarian dishes on Botswana Butchery’s menu.

“We mainly get our fish and seafood from Bluff and it is super-fresh and of excellent quality,” says Thomas, adding that it all comes from trusted, sustainable sources.

“The morning catch of blue cod, monkfish, butterfish and turbot is usually here in the afternoon.

“We also get fresh-farmed Big Glory Bay salmon from Stewart Island and it’s the best salmon I’ve cooked with.”

Thomas says if you can’t catch it yourself, always buy the best quality, freshest seafood.

“A whole fish should have clear, plump and shiny eyes when first caught, and bright red gills.

“If you buy fillets, inspect the colour and the consistency of the flesh – white fish like blue cod should look almost translucent, while tuna or salmon should have bright flesh.”

“In the kitchen, use a good quality heavy-based pan, give the fish a good sear, don’t overcook it, and season well.”


[Download PDF guide]