Bistro Lago is owned and operated by the Nourish Group that is backed by celebrity chef Simon Gault who also owns Shed 5, Crabshack, Euro, Jerviois Steak House amongst other restaurants around New Zealand.
I must admit that Bistro Lago in Taupo would have to be one of the premier restaurants in the Taupo region and for some reason I keep coming back here. I know I should try other places, but it is fairly convenient if you are staying at the Hilton Hotel, as you do not need to worry about driving home after a few drinks with dinner.
There is something to be said when making a reservation ahead of time. You tend to get a table with a view overlooking Lake Taupo.
I recall the last few times that we had dine here it was white linen table service. but I did notice on this occasion the white linen on the tables had gone and the only linen to be seen was the napkins. I guess this is the fact that we (New Zealand) is moving away from fine dining to a more casual dining experience.
Complimentary Bread was provided shortly after the menus were presented to us. Soft warm bread served with salted butter. Nothing really beats home made warm soft bread to be honest.
Butter Poached Crayfish w lemon, chilli, courgette spaghetti was definitely light on the butter. The crayfish was the size of a medallion. I found it relatively dry and lacked seasoning. It would nicer if there was a bit of sauce to go with it.
Silver Fern Farms Venison Short Loin w carrot, orange, buffalo ricotta ravioli and five spice butter. This was my first choice, but Plus 1 wanted it, so I opted for another dish. I knew I could always have as much as I want as we tend to share our dishes. The contrasting colours on the plate was vibrant and very applealing to the eye , which stood out even more against a black plate. This was perhaps the better dish of the two mains that we had ordered. The venison was relatively rare, just how I liked it. it was tender, and perfectly seasoned.
Berbere Spiced Duck w roast peach, organic watercress was over cooked to my liking which I had complained bout. It was not until the waiter came back telling us that it is suppose to be a confit duck. Even for a confit duck it was fairly dry as you would expect a confit duck to be succulent and on the verge of falling apart. The chef prepared another duck which was more succulent and had more source to keep it most, which was significantly better than the first one I had.
Grilled Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto. Plus 1 enjoyed the dish so much that he ordered another one, as he knew that I only had one asparagus spear, he felt a bit bad eating it all.
Chocolate and Cherry Rocky Road Bomb Alaska – was one of those desserts that sounds better on paper. The presentation looked boring a blob of soft meringue sitting on some chocolate soil. As Plus 1 tore into the dessert he failed to see any cherries. It was just a scoop of chocolate ice cream with a subtle hint of cherry. Not the best dessert we have had and we probably will not be running back for this dessert any time soon.
Cheese for some reason I did not feel like a sweet dessert but wanted cheese. So I ordered two different types of cheese Gorgonzola Picate and Taleggio. The gorgonzola picante is relatively dry, spicy and piquant, the taleggio had a strong aroma, with a mild flavour. The cheese came with a selection of crackers, dried apricots, honey comb and some sort of caramelised balsamic apricot vinegar.
Food was ok but not exceptional. Service was attentive. It is good to see that the menu changes seasonally.
Location: 80/100 State Highway 5, Taupo