I had an amazing birthday week in Queenstown, the trip was food-oriented, so bookmark the blog for upcoming posts!
I can’t be more excited to share our favourite restaurant – Blue Kanu. We both agree, it is the best restaurant we have dined at so far. Both the food and service were exceptional, it cannot be any better than that.
Blue Kanu blends both Pacifica and Asian cuisines together, to create a fusion cuisine they call ‘Polynasia’. We had been anticipating our visit to this restaurant because of the highly rated reviews of their exotic Asian dishes with Pacific influences. We made a reservation for dinner around 7PM. and from the moment I called in for the reservation I felt welcomed.
I was stunned by how cool the decoration was. From the artwork on the wall, great mood lighting, the Asian-style setting using the bamboo, to the Polynesian music playing in the background. This all created a very different and fun atmosphere to dine in.
I also loved the display on the table, it was casual, but beautifully decorated. They placed a pair of chopstick on the plate, and decorated it with a butterfly.
We decided to go for the set menu for two as the menu had just too many things we wanted to try. Below are the dishes that we had on the night. It blew our mind, and I hope you give the restaurant a visit if you are ever in Queenstown.
The meal started out with several different appetisers.The first dish was the Kokoda of fresh market fish with Kanu rice crackers & Nam Jim sorbet. Kokoda fish is a raw fish salad (a Fijian dish). It was beautifully marinated with coconut cream and seasoned. The fish was incredibly fresh and nicely cut to bite size, it was delicate and flavoursome. Another surprise and a nice addition to the dish was the housemade rice crackers. These were well seasoned and very crunchy. Very addictive. The in-house Nam Jim sorbet was also outstanding. Nam Jim is a Thai dipping sauce, and Blue Kanu made it into a sorbet! It was similar to the sriracha sauce, a bit salty, sweet, spicy and sour.
It was fun to crack a bit of the rice cracker, dip it in the kokoda, and top it off with some Nam Jim sorbet mmm… What a great Fijian x Chinese x Thai fusion dish!
Next, we enjoyed spicy chicken karaage with sesame wasabi aioli. Chicken karaage is a Japanese word for deep fried chicken. The chicken was perfectly fried, tender and soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside. Dipping the chicken into the wasabi aioli only made it better. I remember when we had the first bite, and we looked at each other and could not help but smile. Indeed, it was some of the best fried chicken I had ever had.
This volcano Kona crusted beef cheek is a signature item on the menu, and the first main dish. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night. It was the softest beef cheek ever, served on beef pho that complemented the meat nicely, and topped with their housemade hot and sour salad.
The beef cheek was ridiculously tender, and had a rich beefy flavour. The salad was fresh and crunchy, and did a great job of balancing the richness of the dish. It was sooooo good.
The second main dish was firecracker chicken with island seaweed coleslaw & chilli jam, it was a refreshing salad to cleanse the palate after the richness of the beef. The chicken was cooked nicely and had a bit of spiciness to it. This dish did a great job of preparing us for the next one.
Our final main course was the red curry of lamb shoulder with water chestnuts, served in a huge pot. This dish was the standout dish of the night. The meat was incredibly tender, and coated with creamy and rich red curry sauce. The dish had a generous amount of meat and vegetables, and topped with shredded coconut. This curry is probably the best rendition of red curry that I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a lot of red curry.
The dish came with a heaping bowl of steamed jasmine rice and wok-fried Asian greens. Like everything else, the vegetables were amazing, crunchy and full of flavour. Even my boyfriend enjoyed them, which was a surprise seeing as he is not a big fan of vegetables at all.
We were full at this point, but my stomach still had space for dessert.
We had Misiluki banana, chocolate and hazelnut wonton, kaffir caramel, and banana ice cream, and they were all housemade! The wonton skin was crispy and crunchy, with smooth molten chocolate on the inside. My boyfriend enjoyed it, and he liked to dip the wonton into the caramel sauce. The wonton was executed nicely, however, a little too sweet for my taste. The banana ice cream was light and refreshing which I enjoyed.
Overall thoughts: Blue Kanu is one of a kind. Totally exceptional. The food was excellent (like really, really good), and most importantly, the chefs are very creative and innovative with their dishes. It was not just us that was in awe of the food, patrons around us were all exclaiming some sort of remark at how good everything tasted. Oh, and the amount of food you get is unreal. We were probably full after the third dish, but we just could not stop eating.
The service was as good as the food, and I have to show my appreciation to the manager. He was so friendly and informative, and came back to us regularly to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. He even recommended some local eateries, which we followed up on.
We constantly compare every other place to Blue Kanu, and no one has ever gotten close.
If you are planning on visiting Queenstown, make sure Blue Kanu is on top of your to-do list. You will not regret it.
Address: 16 Church St, Queenstown, New Zealand