It seems fitting that my inaugural restaurant review for Girl About Queenstown should be the café I frequent on a weekly basis! Bespoke Kitchen was one of the first eateries I visited when I moved to Queenstown and it remains a firm favourite. It’s located just outside the main hustle and bustle of town and if you didn’t know what to look for you’d probably miss it. The exterior of the building is unimposing and the décor itself is rustic but this allows the outstanding food to shine through. Voted Best Café in New Zealand in 2015, the creators of Vudu Café have truly outdone themselves with Bespoke Kitchen – they do brunch the right way.
If you look up vegan restaurants in Queenstown, Bespoke is one of the first hits and, in my opinion, one of the best. Their vegan options are varied with sweet, savoury and everything in between. Whilst their main menu remains the same, their cabinet filled with desserts, sandwiches and salads changes on a daily basis – and I’ve never been disappointed! In terms of savoury options, the best thing I’ve had to date has undoubtedly been the vegan roulade which I opted for today and, whilst I’m going purely off appearances for non-vegan options, my boyfriend assures me their eggs benedict are out of this world. When it comes to Bespoke though, the proof is most definitely in the pudding. Their vegan spiced orange pancakes are heaven on a plate. When I say it’s the best vegan dish I’ve ever had, I’m really not exaggerating (anyone who knows me will roll their eyes at this statement, but I promise… they’re unreal!). I’ll let the photo speak for itself…
The service is quick, the food well-priced and the portions huge. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and now avoid wearing jeans when I go to Bespoke because with treats that good my eyes are always bigger than my stomach! If you’re looking for the best café in Queenstown CBD, look no further.
Try it out for yourself at 9 Isle Street, Queenstown.
Welcome to my first official post on Girl About Queenstown! I thought I’d kick things off with an activity review of the bike tour company Around The Basin. On a sunny April morning a few weeks ago I decided to try a bike tour which, considering I hadn’t ridden a bike in literally years, could have ended in tears. However, I had nothing to worry about because I had an awesome day and was very well looked after by the Around The Basin team! I decided to do their half day Arrow River Trail which lasts around 4 hours and covers 15km. The day before the tour I gave my measurements to Lisa, one of the operations managers, so they could pick a bike for me. The following morning I turned up ready to go at 9am at the Around The Basin headquarters in central Queenstown. Our guide, Hamish, introduced himself and we set off for Arrowtown in a mini-bus – bikes in tow. On our drive, Hamish was very chatty and gave us lots of interesting facts about the area. Around 20 minutes later we had arrived in Arrowtown and were shown a quick safety video which stated the obvious – how to change gears etc. I evidently wasn’t paying enough attention as I realised 15 minutes into the cycle that I was attempting steep hills in 9th gear but we won’t dwell on that! Hamish also gave us helmets, bar bags, maps, and bottles of water which all came in handy.
We were a group of 10 or so people but once we were given our maps we were free to do the tour independently. I really liked this aspect as it meant everyone could take things at their own pace and it also gave us the opportunity to stop when we wanted to take photos (or in my case, catch your breath!). From our starting point on the Arrow River Trail we headed along the track beside the Kawarau River. Our first pit stop was one of the suspension bridges and the view from here was spectacular. I took full advantage of the photo op as you’ll see below! At the far side of the bridge Hamish was there to see how we were getting on and to give us a pep talk. I thought this was a nice touch as it gave the option to drop off any unnecessary possessions, or, if the going was too tough, to stop the cycling part of the tour and take the van to the finish point. I’m glad I persevered however as we got to cross another suspension bridge and eventually reached our next pit stop at the Kawarau Bridge. I should add at this point that the actual tour itself is not that physically demanding, I may have just been embracing the Queenstown lifestyle a bit too much over recent months and admittedly have become a bit of a couch potato – I blame 6$ Domino’s! The Kawarau Bridge was an awesome place to stop as it also acts as the location for the world’s first bungee jump! There are steps where you can stand to get a better view of people launching themselves off the bridge and I spent around 20 minutes here with my heart in my throat! When we met Hamish on the other side of the bridge he told us we were on the home stretch straight to our final destination – Gibbston Valley Winery. The promise of free tastings had my legs doing a mile a minute and before long I had reached the wine!
Granted we had lovely, sunny weather the day of our tour, but even on a gloomy day the winery would be a great place to finish up. We were able to choose three wines which were brought out to us in tasting portions and we had around half an hour to sit in the sun and enjoy them before we were driven back to Queenstown. The Around The Basin staff were amazing and the whole day from start to finish was well organised and well thought out so thank you team! I highly recommend anyone with a spare morning / afternoon to give this company a go and I will definitely be back to try their full day options – my only criticism is I wish the wine had been in full portions!