Bistro Gentil, Wanaka


Bistro Gentil was one of the highlights of our trip south, one of those rare gems capable of whisking you away on a welcome escape into the lap of luxury with all the cares of the world forgotten, even if for just an afternoon. Everything about it seems to be designed especially for shameless self-pampering, from the sheepskin rugs on the chairs to the wine dispenser built into the wall. Yes, a wine dispenser! The charming waiter gives you a wine card, and explains how it is used to operate the dispenser; so instead of ordering off a wine menu, you get your wine directly from the bottle of choice.

We went there after having had fish ‘n’ chips by the lake, and thus ended up ordering a rather unorthodox mix of dishes, as we were semi-full but it was still close to lunch time. The SO chose the duck liver parfait from the lunch menu, and I picked one of the gateaux from the cabinet. The duck liver parfait came with  whipped orange butter, tamarillo chutney, freeze dried cherries, and blackberry balsamic vinegar – it was divine, rich in taste and creamy in texture, albeit rather unsubstantial for a lunch course. My raspberry and chocolate gateaux was also impressive, ranking almost on par with the desserts served at Milse or Patisserie Vaniye (which is no small feat, considering how much I idolize those places).

The service was warm and efficient, the waiters friendly and accommodating. The wine dispenser was… an interesting novelty, to say the least. You could get a taste, a half glass, or a full glass, for the associated prices. The SO settled on his favourite Gewurztraminer after sampling it, whereas I went on a self-designed wine tasting tour of sorts. It was the perfect way to while away an afternoon, sipping wine while enjoying the alpine views from the courtyard. Would definitely go back the next time we’re in Wanaka.

Summary: Perfect for an afternoon treat.


Cost: $20 – $40 pp
Food: 5 Stars
Service: 5 Stars
Ambience: 5 Stars
Value for money: 3 Stars


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