There is now even more reason to take the short drive from Queenstown and turn left at Lake Hayes to head to Arrowtown. Award-winning New Zealand chef Ben Bayly’s cooking is so straight from the heart you can taste the love. Nestled in the main street of a delightful gold-rush village, this 50-seater is casual, relaxed and steeped in history. Working alongside him, Bayly has the outstanding talents of chef Mike Shatura, Steven Sepsy and a skilled team that is smashing it. While bringing the flavours of northern Italy to this locale, the menu is almost exclusively local. The wine list reflects the best of Italian and Central Otago wines and the food is indicative of a master chef who has found his happy place. Standouts are the blue cod crudo with smoked clams, braised ox tongue resplendent with horseradish, capers, rapini, spring garlic and Swiss browns, and a superb kina pappardelle ‘carbonara style’ with shaved pāua, fried leeks and brilliant yellow yolks.

IN BRIEF Trad Italian becomes New Zealand cool

X