An experienced chef with a passion for local produce is the perfect person to guide the new look café at Kingston’s iconic train station.
Nestled on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, Kingston is home to the beloved Kingston Flyer steam train. It’s where The Flyer Café’s new chef Andy Lisseman is set to delight diners and train riders alike this summer season. Originally from the UK, Andy’s experience includes a stint at the prestigious Le Pont De La Tour restaurant in London under Chef Tim Powell, a protégé of global culinary superstar Marco Pierre White. Since moving to New Zealand, Andy has made a name for himself at some of Queenstown’s finest establishments, most recently at the highly-regarded Jack’s Point Clubhouse. Andy brought his passion for local produce to the establishment and while he says he loved his time at Jack’s Point he “couldn’t resist” the opportunity to work alongside the historic Kingston Flyer. Andy has an affinity with the train as he and his wife are Kingston residents of six years and will soon welcome their first child.
“Living here in Kingston, the train is part of daily life and I’ve always had such a soft spot for it,” says Andy. “When the train was shut down by previous owners a few years back and I saw it abandoned and run-down, I found it really sad.
“One of my main objectives in this new role will be to showcase the café as a destination experience. Just like you would travel to a vineyard restaurant, a visit to the Flyer Café for good quality food alongside one of New Zealand most iconic steam trains is going to be a superb day out.”
Andy can’t wait to impress diners with his home-made delights and locally-sourced produce. The new look menu will feature home-made artisan breads, chutneys and preserves, and an emphasis on local produce.
“Diners can expect to see a breakfast offering with our range of home-made condiments, or a light lunch consisting of freshly made sandwiches on home-made bread, or a seasonal salad of the day from locally grown produce. One of our stand-out dishes will be the Central Otago Tasting Platter featuring locally sourced products such as olives and olive oils.
“The tasting platter was something we developed for the ‘First Class Carriage’ experience on the train. You can choose to travel in the gorgeous first class birdcage compartment with bubbles and a tasting platter. I thought it looked so amazing we had to offer it on the menu at the café as well.
“I’ve always been really impressed by the quality of local produce in this area, and I’m really looking forward to weaving it throughout the menu. I think it’s some of the best in the world.”
Andy is also expecting his terrines to become a drawcard for visitors to the café. Terrine-making is another passion for the experienced chef, enabling him to incorporate products such as duck, pork and pistachio.
“Most importantly we’ll be offering excellent wine matches with our food, because we’re lucky that Kingston Flyer’s new owner David Bryce is a wine man. His background is in vineyards and he still holds a fantastic passion for wine, so he’s sourced some impressive ‘Kingston Flyer’ wines to complement the new menu. I think diners will be really impressed by the wines we’re serving.”
Andy has been working hard to prepare The Flyer Café for opening day and has assembled and trained his front of house team. He’s now in the process of finalising his kitchen brigade who will complement his depth of experience.
“The café’s had a good spruce-up with a lot of work on the space over winter and it’s got a great feel to it, definitely somewhere to come and enjoy a meal.
“We can’t wait to open the doors. We’re catering for a private charter this Saturday for around 80 people which will be a great way to kick things off, then the café will open its doors from next Monday (September 24th),” he said.
The Kingston Flyer steam train officially opens for the season on Saturday 29th September with a gala opening day event.
The season opening will kick off with a ‘Gala Opening Day’ on Saturday September 29, a fun-filled day which will include a car boot market day from 10am to 3.30pm, free music, and discounted opening day fares at $30 for an adult and $15 per child. Vintage cars and machinery are invited to be on display in Kingston. The Saturday timetable will see the train operate at 10am, 12pm and 2pm, while on Sunday it will revert to the regular season long timetable and run at 10am and 1.30pm only.
For more information and to reserve tickets for the 2012/13 season go to www.kingstonflyer.co.nz