March 5, 2014
Dunedin, the south island’s second largest city after Christchurch, is a pretty coastal college town with good restaurants and access to the Otago Penisula, known for its scenic bluffs and wildlife. As it was rainy during our short visit, not an uncommon occurrence, we spent little time exploring the city’s architectural sights and gardens.
Termed an executive motel, this is where motel meets boutique hotel. With plenty of guest parking and only a 15 minute walk from the town center, the spacious room is more like a tastefully decorated efficiency apartment – minus a cooktop but plus a washer-dryer unit. The bathroom has a large whirlpool bathtub.
The owners seem to have thought of just about everything, including earplugs for those particularly raucous evenings in this college town. We slept with the sliding glass door overlooking the town wide open and didn’t hear a thing. Truly a lovely and convenient place to stay, especially for those who like a modern rather than a traditional ambiance.
Scotia Bar and Bistro, located just off the Octagon, has a comfortable somewhat formal dining room with high ceilings, carpeting and white table cloths. The transitional furnishings give the room a smart townhouse ambiance.
The menu offers a more varied selection of proteins than we’ve seen at other establishments in NZ. Exciting to have a selection of rabbit, duck and goat in addition to the usual fish, chicken, beef, lamb and occasional venison. Most of the preparations, however, are on the heavy or rich side.
Overall we loved the food, but the kitchen was particularly overwhelmed on this Tuesday evening. The servers didn’t seem to have enough to do while they waited for dishes to trickle out of the kitchen. The starter didn’t arrive until 45 minutes after our arrival with the main following another 45 minutes later. We didn’t dare order a dessert. Upon asking the server if this was normal pacing for the restaurant, she explained that they did have a particularly high number of walk-ins that evening. Bravo for not letting the quality of the food suffer but the wait did put a damper on the meal.
The bistro style dining room has a casual feel with dark wood furniture and shelves of wine behind the bar. The hard floors and no table cloths make the space particularly noisy when full.
The menu has a varied selection of French style bistro fare.
Food was generally well prepared and tasty. The busy servers did a good job of managing the room with service on par with a standard European pacing.