Lonestar Restaurant, Queenstown, New Zealand.
I never thought a meal could beat me. I never thought I could sit down to a plate of food served at a public restaurant and not see the other side. Ever since I was a child and Dad told me I would slip down a worm hole if I didn't eat evrything on plate, I have been afraid of starvation. What horrors there must lurk in the garden for those who are foolish enough not to consume everything presented to them in record beating time.
Lone Star Restaurant in Queenstown, New Zealand, however, has humbled this culinary hoover with its shamefully belt breaking portions of New Zealand cuisine. Not just once, but many times have I passed through this ski resort town, and every time the Lone Star menu has beaten me.
Lone Star has become a New Zealand institution, with 17 restaurants scattered over the country's length and breadth. The first outlet opened in Christchurch in 1988, and many others followed as New Zealanders heard about the corset popping size of the meals. Here was a restaurant you could go to that didn't serve namby-pamby city sized meals to the mostly rural population. This was a place that served real food, with veges and potatoes instead of the rabbit food that was such a hit overseas. It was a place farmers could take their families and not worry about short black, latte, cappucino, or any other coffee named after movie stars. Coffee was coffee, food was food, and you didn't just eat dessert, you climbed its lofty peaks.
I love the welcome I get at Lone Star, the guy on the door was so upset once that there were no tables left, he gave me a free t-shirt. I especially like the waiters, who often sit down beside you for a chat. Basil has been my waiter several times. Originally from Tonga, Basil has the most amazing memory in the world. He can recite the most detailed order from a group of up to 20 people word for word.
And the menu itself is a work of rugged art. The classic menu features dishes such as Dixie Chicken and Baked Redneck Ribs, as well as my favourite, the Lassoo of Hog (with which I swear I got a whole pig). For the more discerning diner, the Soul Menu features cuts of venison, salmon, and Angus beef.
Most meals are around the $25-30 mark, and the meals also come in three quarter size for those who are not up to the challenge. There is a children's menu as well. Dietry requirements are also catered for, I once went with a companion who couldn't eat anything cooked in soya oil. Just ask your waiter.
After the meal, escape upstairs to the Rattlesnake Bar, which used to be a lawn mower shop, for a drink and a game of pool.
Lone Star Restaurant is found at 14 Brecon Street. [more ]