Stratosfare (Rotorua, New Zealand)
It was quite a while since we’ve been to a Buffet with tons of selection like this, the last one was at Fortuna and prior to that was Haru No Yume, sadly the latter does not do buffets anymore. With regards to the variety of buffet offerings Fortuna for me was quite average, Haro No Yume was good and probably the only Japanese buffet you can get before in New Zealand but the pinnacle for me in New Zealand so far was Eight at Cordis, Stratosfare is a bit below that. A bit below does not mean its average, its way above average, it just happens that Eight uses high quality ingredients, having said that they are both coming from different price points as well, NZ$85 for Stratosfare and $139 for Eight during weekends.
We came here during our most recent trip to Rotorua and we were finding somewhere special and Stratosfare is one of the best places you can dine in when in the region. What even makes this special is that it is located at the top of the mountain where the Luge is so expect some nice views starting from the Gondola ride. Buffet is by schedule so better buy your tickets online, so you don’t have to wait.
As mentioned earlier, they have tons of selection from Breads, Soups, Salads, Grill even Desserts. On their Bread selection they offer Artisan breads fresh from the oven, there are also speciality breads served with spreads & infused olive oil with New Zealand butter and margarine.
On soups you have a flavourful coconut curry laksa soup with seasonal and traditional condiments. There is also a creamy rich seafood chowder finished with pinot gris and wholemeal garlic croutons.
There are also several selections of salads like Roasted corn salad with beans and cumin, Oriental tabouli with zesty lime and coriander drizzle, Sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce, kimchi and Korean noodle salad with tofu to name some.
Next you have the Mediterranean Fare and Antipasto Selection where you can grab Shaved coppa (cured pork scotch), cured beef pastrami, hot Spanish chorizo sausage, Italian salami, continental sausages, chicken liver paté with sautéed mushroom, Marinated artichokes, Greek kalamata olives, green olives, pickled cucumber, stuffed vine leaves, sundried tomatoes, Lebanese hummus, chargrilled halloumi on eggplant pickle and feta cheese with spring onion.
My favourite section was the Grill and Flame Rotisserie / Carvery where different sorts of meat are served and prepared fresh as you order. Grilled meats like Aged scotch or sirloin beef cuts peppered or natural marinated garlic, sage pork loin steak served with light mushroom and onion sauce, wild venison steak with green pepper, German bratwurst, lamb chops with mint sauce, smoked kransky, rosemary infused lamb steaks, braised chicken drums with capsicum, 4 hour slow cooked prime beef rib and Bavarian style cured pork scotch seasoned with caraway seeds and garlic.
There is also a good selection of seafood like In-house marinated green-lipped mussels with sweet chilli and ginger, cooked prawn salad with bamboo shoots, whole cooked tiger prawns, Coromandel half shell mussels, hot smoked New Zealand fish fillet, coconut and ginger marinated South Pacific Ocean fish, raw fish salad (ika mata) and sashimi from salmon.
From the Asian selection are Grilled seafood with lemon grass and Asian vegetables, seaweed and toasted sesame salad, nigiri and sushi selection, Hungarian Goulash, Korean kimchi, soba noodles in soy and sweet vinegar marinade with sautéed root vegetables and mushroom, vegan curry with tofu and vegetables and of course Savoury jasmine rice cooked with fresh herbs and shallots.
And finally, the dessert and cheese selection where you can indulge endlessly on Homemade pavlova, chocolate and nougat mousse, panacotta & mango delight, crème brulee, pina colada Bavarian crème, fresh fruit salad, blueberry pie, baked cheesecake and forest berries and off course other seasonal patisserie delights provided fresh off the baking tray. Cheeses vary but most of them are New Zealand Cheeses which are amazing.
The list above is not complete, there are many more to explore and if you are lucky, you will also see and try some Chef’s showcase and specialties.
Trust me you will have a really nice time in here, even the pickiest of eaters will have something to partake on. While we want to try everything on offer, I think we just scratched the surface, everything was good nothing served was below average, we liked most was the grilled section and gave several cuts some try specially that we knew that this restaurant has been awarded with achieving the highest culinary standard in beef and lamb year after year. Finally with regards to service, it was phenomenal, we haven’t seen any buffet service like that where receptionist before handing you over to your table explain all of the different station of the buffet and what you can enjoy from each, plus tables are constantly cleaned the minute you grab your next rounds.
Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar
Address: 178 Fairy Springs Road, Fairy Springs, Rotorua 3015
Phone: 07 347 0027