In Travel

A Queenstown Venue With A Michelin Chef-Designed Menu

Tailored suits, crisp linen shirts and quality leather accessories may be what menswear label Rodd & Gunn is best known for.

But take that same level of superior style to the hospitality scene and it’s no surprise the brand’s very own The Lodge Bar in Queenstown – complete with an exclusive menu designed by a New York-based Michelin-star chef – is one of New Zealand’s most sought after dining destinations. So much so, that it’s set to open another establishment of the same name in Auckland.

It’s difficult to think of a more appropriate location to establish the inaugural restaurant of a brand synonymous with quality and style than on the shores of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu, offering arguably some of the world’s most striking views of snow-capped mountain ranges.

Cosy into a leather arm chair facing a blazing fireplace and indulge in offerings from the wine list curated by New Zealand’s first and only master sommelier Cameron Douglas and a menu designed by Kiwi-born chef Matt Lambert of Michelin-starred The Musket Room in dazzling Manhattan.

Sound relaxing? That’s exactly how you’re meant to feel upon setting foot in the establishment, Rodd & Gunn’s General Manager of Hospitality Joshua Beagley says.

“We aim to create an environment whereby our guests can immediately relax, be at ease and take in the beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountain peaks,” he says.

Every component within the establishment oozes bespoke luxury. Designed by Rodd & Gunn’s Head of Store Design Nik Rush and architects Pennant & Triumph, it includes a parquet feature wall, tartan-covered seating booths and heavy glass doors that open onto the vibrant lakefront that hums with happy holidaymakers.

The wine list showcases New Zealand’s finest wines, offerings from local producers, select vintages, hard-to-find varietals and a select range of fine champagne.

Consultant chef Matt Lambert has created a menu boasting house-made spaghetti with pork sausage, tomato and basil; the Gunner’s game pie; baked white fish with herb crust and aromatic bone broth, to name a few. The focus is on utilising locally sourced fresh, seasonal produce and allowing the quality of food to shine through both modern and traditional techniques, stunning presentation and attention to detail.

“I thought the concept of the menu was awesome; I loved the thought of cooking back home, particularly using New Zealand products in their purest state closest to the source,” Lambert says.

The shared ethos between Lambert and Rodd & Gunn is undeniable; both value a close relationship with nature and work tirelessly to promote the best of New Zealand to the world.

“I had an existing relationship with Mike [Beagley, CEO Rodd & Gunn], and was on a family trip in Queenstown when he flew down to tell me about his vision for the then-retail store to become what is now The Lodge Bar,” Lambert says.

lodge bar

The South Island establishment has been such a success since opening its doors in 2016 that it’s expanding its footprint with the opening of an Auckland eatery in March in the city’s new Commercial Bay precinct, which collates renowned retail and luxury accommodation with distinguished food and beverage destinations.

Lambert has designed the City of Sails menu. He says the ethos of cooking fresh and with local produce continues to be at the fore across both venues however, the execution of dishes will differ slightly.

“The Auckland establishment will feature a charcoal oven which brings the opportunity to cook with solid fuels and something I’m really excited about,” he says. “I’m keen to showcase quality New Zealand produce cooked over charcoal and given the proximity to the harbour, there will be a lot of amazing seafood on offer.”

“We’re also looking at a different market in Auckland. It’s in the CBD, across from Princes Wharf and the Downtown Ferry Terminal so we’re going to have a diverse customer base,” Lambert says of the dining destination frequented by locals and holidaymakers alike.

lodge bar

The Rodd & Gunn heritage harks back to 1946, when the brand’s first trademark logo – the English Pointer –featured on a boutique line of New Zealand-made shirts. The brand was established in its current form in 1987 when the first bricks and mortar store opened in Auckland. It’s since grown to be one of Australia and New Zealand’s most-loved brands and has stores in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom with shoppers valuing the high-quality garments made from the finest materials.

“Therefore when opening our hospitality venue we took this same approach to our food and beverage programme with high-grade ingredients that are prepared simply, allowing the quality to shine,” Joshua Beagley says.

“Our Rodd & Gunn customers would expect nothing less and, conversely, customers that are experiencing the brand for the first time through The Lodge Bar get a sense of the ethos that we stand for.”

(All images: Daniel Sortino for The Lodge Bar / supplied)

Published 26 February, 2020