The Bathhouse, built in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V, is one of Queenstown’s most distinctive heritage lakeside buildings. It was taken over by renowned restaurateur and chef Ben Bayly (Origine, Ahi, Aosta, Little Aosta), executive chef Steven Sepsy (Aosta, Little Aosta) and food and beverage industry veteran Vicki Onions.
Sitting right on the sandy shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Bathhouse is beside the botanic gardens and scenic walking paths. It's undergone many different evolutions since the early 1900s; now the architecture and fit-out are a blend of old and new. Queenstown-based architect Anna Marie Chin restored the original 40-seat octagonal-shaped restaurant and its surroundings. The building stands out against the trees in crisp white. The central crown is a striking red, and the same shade is accented on window frames and red wooden floors inside. There’s seating for a further 70 to 100 people outdoors.
On the all-day menu, Bayly and Sepsy have run with the British theme in keeping with the building’s origins. They’re serving classics such as the scotch egg, coronation chicken and shrimp cocktail, all interpreted in the modern and produce-forward way that they have become known for. The scotch egg, for example, is made with lamb mince and comes with white anchovy mayo on the side and a confit egg yolk on top. The coronation chicken is served in house-made Turkish bread with new season cos lettuce and sweet and spicy pickles.
Old-timey desserts have been given a similarly contemporary spin. There’s a Knickerbocker Glory ice cream sundae that’s layered with berries, and the Trifle is made with Pedro Ximenez sherry, strawberry jelly, nectarines and a syllabub custard with vanilla and whipped cream.
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