Good honest Kiwi fare at Public, Queenstown – Good honest Kiwi fare sourced locally and designed to bring people together is the key concept behind Public Kitchen & Bar, Queenstown’s newest restaurant.
In an enviable waterfront position at Steamer Wharf on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Public is located in the site previously occupied by Wai Restaurant and continues to be owned and operated by Alex Boyes, Jan Rae and Martin and Megan James.
Co-owner Jan Rae said Public would offer a unique alternative to fine dining and pub fare in the resort, filling a niche to provide “good, honest grass roots cooking” in a relaxed and informal style.
Using the best local produce in Southland and Central Otago, hunted in the hills or foraged from the farms around Queenstown, chef –owner Martin James and executive chef Stephen Clayton, have expertly crafted mouth-watering dishes which stay true to their natural environment.
Public Kitchen & Bar will be open daily from 12 noon to 11pm offering all day dining at “honest Kiwi prices”.
Whether it’s an after work beer at the bar and a groper slider from the snack menu to dinner in one of the wall booths with friends or outside dining soaking up the views, Public offers multiple dining options.
Chef James said his mother was the reason he decided to become a chef and it was she and other family members who helped shape the food concept for Public.
The menu includes an array of dishes for all palettes including Southland pork loin with honey and mustard, apple and tarragon salsa, Matt’s spiced chicken nibbles and potted rabbit plum compote from Athol Valley Meats in Southland. There is also an extensive vegetarian and salad menu and other dietary requirements can be catered for.
Nana Marg’s Lemon and Thyme Chicken also made the menu along with Marty’s hand-made sausage, with smoked bacon and lentil sauce as well as the Blue Skin Bay Clams.
The restaurant has undergone a complete interior transformation over the last few weeks with the owners hunting for quirky and “very Kiwi” objects to adorn the venue.
From old warehouse lights sourced from Invercargill to distressed wood bar leaners, old Kiwi advertising on the walls, and a large feature bird cage light suspended from the ceiling, the new decor very much reflects the heritage of Public’s Steamer Wharf location, harking back to its old boatyard days.
An original red Kiwi telephone box, rescued from WaihiBeach, now doubles as one of the doors into the restaurant and adds to the vibe. An original piece of wall art called ‘Milk & Honey’, by local artist Simon Morrison Deaker, is unique to Public and graces one of the walls, adding to the restaurant’s style and ambiance.