Botswana Butchery brilliantly blends funky with old-fashioned grandeur in the décor: Black and white, red and gold in a restored historic cottage with splendid wingback armchairs, fabulous wrought iron stairwell leading to the wine ‘loft/cellar’. Set directly across the road from Lake Wakatipu – an inspired location. On a sunny day, wine on the deck instills the glorious feeling of ‘holiday-mode’. Calling in here for lunch is a favourite option – luxury in the afternoon.
Finally we brought friends here for a special dinner. Very professional looking and friendly, well-dressed food and wine waiters busily went about their business as we were seated at the bar with a wine awaiting the final guest in our group.
The Starters Menu is inspiring – many items on it that we would never cook ourselves, which we like to order to try. But, planning to order a steak, decided not to this time.
The Cervena main looked great, cooked to perfection and served with greens and jus.
Our friend specifically asked for his Tuna to be “just seared on each side”, as it should be. It came out all cooked through. The waiter apologetically whisked the meal away. This diner was left for twenty minutes to share his wife’s (fabulous, by the way) spinach and pear side order of salad, while we all ate our main course. Twenty minutes to sear a Tuna steak? The chef explained it needed to be left out of the fridge 15 minutes to bring it up to room temperature – seemed an odd moment to get fussy about the handling of the tuna and strange there was not some other tuna steak mellowing somewhere. These things happen, but they did not offer his main course, or anything else, ‘on the house’, simply left him there to eat the delicious spinach while we all ate our mains. Not good on the chef’s part for sending it out and the only bad service of the evening – to not offer something in the meantime -but pretty memorable.
I ordered a Ribeye Steak. It was cooked just how I ordered, but it was boring. I had not ordered a sauce, so they sent me a steak flavoured with salt and pepper, by itself, on a plate. I wouldn’t call that a ‘meal’ fit to serve in my own home to non-paying guests. Twenty years ago, a trade-mark of a Fine Dining restaurant, was silver service. Soup was ladled from a terrine at the table; tasty vegetables of many varieties served onto your plate – once you received your main course; liqueurs lit up right at the table; complementary bread rolls were compulsory and an aperitif ‘on the house’ was common. Just like now, the experience was costly, but it felt special.
Now, it seems Fine Dining means bread is to be well-paid for, meat can be sent out alone on a plate – carbs, vegetables and salad must be ordered and charged additional, waiters can pick up glasses without a tray, they have two ‘sittings’ so the dessert menu may look good, but they need your table… It may be that I am the only person this annoys. In fact, it must be, since Botswana Butchery is often “pumping”. Maybe I simply ordered the wrong thing. The rest of the menu is actually inspiring.