Mark your diaries to celebrate one of New Zealand’s most iconic foods – New Zealand grass fed lamb. May 24 marks the day the first shipment of frozen sheep meat arrived safely in London in 1882. It took 98 days on board the Dunedin for it to arrive and kick start one of New Zealand’s most celebrated export markets.
From the farmers who grow the lamb through to the chefs who know exactly how to prepare and serve it, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating lamb. So if you want to jump on board and enjoy a delicious eating experience from one of New Zealand’s top lamb restaurants, then look no further as we have taken the guess work out of choosing.
We’ve put together some great places to enjoy a delicious lamb meal, but wherever you are there will be an Excellence Award restaurant serving up amazing lamb on National Lamb Day, so don’t forget to check out our full restaurant directory here.
DeBretts Kitchen, Auckland
Positioned in the beautifully furnished DeBretts Hotel in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, this is a great restaurant to escape the hustle and bustle of Queen Street. Tucked away with a lovely glass atrium you can relax and enjoy a lunch with friends or an intimate dinner for two. On their menu is a stunning combination of traditional flavours and textures with their lamb dish - chargrilled lamb with rosemary & lemon, potato & anchovy gratin, steamed greens, roasted carrots, mint labneh.
Jervois Steakhouse, Auckland
Slightly out of Auckland’s CBD, you can dine at Jervois Steakhouse in Herne Bay. Renowned for their impressive array of steaks, equally as stunning is their lamb dish featuring lamb belly, hoisin glaze, pickled red cabbage and spring onion. Beautifully plated with the lamb belly as the hero of the dish, you will savour the flavours of this lesser known cut matched with delicious accompaniments.
Zealong Tea Estate, Waikato
A trip to Zealong Tea Estate is a destination in itself. There is much to do at the Estate, with tours, arts, gardens and tea tastings for the lovers of a great cup of tea. Add in a top-class award-winning restaurant and you can make a day of it. We love the sound of their lamb dish - Harissa-rubbed sous-vide lamb rump with baba ghanoush, cucumber, pickled sultanas, and sugar snaps, finished with tahini yoghurt and jus.
Bellamys by Logan Brown, Parliament, Wellington
For Wellingtonians and visitors to our Capital city, there could be nothing more iconic than enjoying lunch within the Beehive at Bellamys by Logan Brown. Eating lamb at the Beehive is a truly unique New Zealand experience, especially on National Lamb Day! Their two-course lunch menu is only $37pp and features lamb shoulder rack, New Zealand quinoa, parsley and green olive tabbouleh, belly bacon and fermented summer blueberries.
Captains Restaurant, Queenstown
Set in the heart of Queenstown, Captains Restaurant is a long-time recipient of the Excellence Award. Their lamb dish features herb crusted lamb rack, served medium rare with rosemary jus and is expertly matched with a Dominion Road Central Otago Pinot Noir. This traditional lamb dish is so popular it is consistently asked for by tourists and locals and has become a permanent menu item to be enjoyed all year round.
Paddington Arms, Invercargill
If you find yourself in the deep South, you will find yourself in the heart of lamb country, where some of our best grown produce comes from. You may also find yourself with quite an appetite after exploring this stunning region so a visit to Paddington Arms in Invercargill can replenish your energy. You can enjoy a hearty lamb dish with a couple of beers at this friendly pub and we love the way three different cuts of lamb are shared across one dish – lamb kofta, seared loin on smoked potato mash and pulled lamb.