dunedin restaurant


Otago Daily Times - 11 September 2001 by Charmain Smith

In the nine years since it opened, Bacchus seems to have found a formula that works - bright, air surroundings, and interesting wine list, and good food for lunch, dinner and open late for dessert and drinks after shows. Apart for the art on the walls, and the permutating scenes in the Octagon viewed through the big windows, little seems to have changed in the decor and the sunny pastel paint is still cheerful. the elegant plaster ceilings, the cafe style tables and chairs, the wooden bar and the bare floor can make it noisy when it is busy.

Over the years Steve Hannagan has built an excellent reserve wine list. All the big names in Australian and New Zealand wines, from Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, to Te Mata Coleraine and Felton Road Block Three Pinot Noir are represented, with several vintages of some of them, Prices range from $45 for Stonecroft Gewurztraminer 2000 to $650 for Penfolds Grange 1990 or $600 for the 1975. The everyday wine list contains a good selection with most of the white available by the glass and a few of the reds. Unfortunately, the Central Otago Pinot Noirs are all on the reserve list. It would be a good to have at least one available by the glass, even it, like the dessert wines, it varied depending of what was open.

Food is contemporary New Zealand, simple and fresh, with Mediterranean influenced flavours which generally go well with wine. Fresh blue code with a dusting of cajun spices and a lively glaze of passion fruit and lime was delicious, and the vegetarian pie is always good.

Service is generally helpful and friendly and Steve Hannagan knows his wines thoroughly. However, service is rarely fast so it is not a place for those with only a short lunch break.