Hamish M. said: "Without a doubt the culinary pick of the Bay of Islands. I ordered the lamb which was exquisitely cooked. All the servings were generous and beautifully presented. An extensive quality wine list was provided, and we treated…" read more »
- Free Off-Street, Free On-Street
- Good For Groups:
- Good For Children:
- Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails
- No BYO
- Wheelchair Accessible:
- Takes Reservations:
- Dietary Restrictions:
- Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free
- Meals Served:
- Lunch, Dinner, Dessert
- Payment Types:
- EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX
- Seating For:
- Outdoor Seating:
Reviews for Duke of Marlborough Hotel Restaurant
31st July 2012
We are regular visitors to Russell and always eat at the Duke on at least one occasion each stay. New owners have undertaken extensive renovations to the historic waterfront hotel, dining areas and guest rooms. Their hospitality industry experience has become apparent with excellent new staff, varied menus and better service. Weddings have become common there again and we have heard good reports. We last dined in the July school holidays. Wonderful atmosphere with a cosy fire. The food was superb complimented by the recommended wine and attentive service. In the summer casual dining and people watching on the verandahs overlooking Russell’s waterfront is as good as it gets. The seafood chowder in a bread bowl is a favourite. We have learned to book a table during busy periods and avoid dining during days cruise ships are visiting. Other reviewers are correct with prior experiences and the difficultuly of retaining good staff was evident. The new owners appear to have cracked it as our recent experiences have all been excellent.
28th December 2011
Spending a stat holiday on the deck of the Duke seemed to be worth the price.
Never going to be cheap we were happy that no surcharge was being added. A couple of fine musicians set the scene with some Latin music in front of this iconic venue.
The waiting staff are great very onto it.
I tried their seafood chowder that was encased in a cob loaf. Very nice for effect but cleaning the beard from the mussels should have been a pre requisite . Had much nicer chowder in Paihia.
Wife’s calamari in salad peas and feta was not bad . The peas seemed out of place.
We enjoyed a couple of nice cool drinks on the deck and enjoyed the afternoon.
22nd August 2011
We stayed last weekend in Russell and dined here on Saturday night as we had heard that a new team had control of the kitchen and the food was pretty outstanding. I have been coming to Russell on and off over the years as we used to have a family bach here so am familiar with the Dukes ups and downs. The two reviews before this one are not indicative of its now status, and should be disregarded. Anyway this is how we found it:
The website paints a very nice picture of fine dining. And on some levels this is the case but not all. The wait staff are fantastic, professional, knowledgeable and efficient. The menu is well thought out with an accompanying wine list to match – and plenty of good wines by the glass. The food was very good – we had a very tasty kumara bread and dips to kick off and both had confit of duck leg as our entrees – just sublime. I had the butternut squash risotto, and hubby had the wild boar and venison pie. My risotto was nicely cooked and presented and his pie was pronounced delicious. The accompanying chunky fries and creamed spinach were fine. So what didn’t measure up?
Well, for a start the whole picture painted on their site is one of fine dining – an opportunity to dress up a little and have a romantic evening overlooking the Bay. They show their lovely dining room with beautiful chandeliers and tables with elegant chairs and white cloths. However this is the Private Dining Room depicted and has never been in use in any of the occasions I have dined (even mid-winter Christmas one year. Such a shame as it is a thoroughly elegant room. Instead when one walks down the lane to the entrance one is faced with loud live band playing in the plastic walled veranda area. We entered and were shown to our table which was nicely near an open fire. There were about four other couples and a few larger groups all fine dining, and all mostly dressed for the occasion. The band in the front area was very audible inside the restaurant. As were the rowdy patrons watching the band. At the same time we could just hear melodious dining music was playing in our seating area. Very thankfully the band finished at 7pm, about ten minutes after we arrived, and didn’t reappear. We were then able to hear “our” music and the ambiance improved. BUT: With regular monotony the door (in the plastic see through wall) to the front area opened to admit a waft of cigarette smoke and raucous chatter as various public bar patrons wound their way through the fine dining tables to reach the bar at the rear. These patrons sported attire from swandri’s and gumboots (truly!) to singlets and flip flops. I can only imagine the public bar patrons found it to be an uneasy experience as the fine diners!
I think the Duke needs to define it’s place in the market. As tempting as it may be in today’s economic climate to try and have as wide an appeal as possible the above scenario (not exaggerated at all) just doesn’t cut it. The only view of the Bay was through the see-through plastic curtain, through the smoke(rs) and out the other side! What a shame!
Logistically I couldn’t see why the Private Dining room (which opens just off the lobby right opposite the existing restaurant seating area) couldn’t be put into permanent use as fine dining – its a beautiful room. Or the door midway down the plastic curtain removed meaning that public bar patrons enter the bar by way of the lobby and if the open areas between dining room and bar were closed off (I think they actually were doorways so easily achieved) folk having a romantic and expensive meal out could be left undisturbed to enjoy it.
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