Queens Cafe Bistro is the perfect hideaway in Auckland’s CBD…
This is exactly what I was thinking after dining at Queens Cafe Bistro. You probably wouldn’t recognise it from the main street – it is located on the second level of the Queen’s Arcade and its expansive outdoor balcony overlooks the bustling Queen Street. The restaurant opened in November 2016 and while I haven’t seen much advertising for it, there was a deal on Grabone a few months ago, so I bought a voucher. They were offering a two course dinner for two people at a very reasonable price. After perusing their menus, I was really excited to try out this newly opened eatery.
Three of us dined here last weekend, and were impressed by their delicious food, relaxing atmosphere and friendly and attentive service. The restaurant has four dining areas, plenty of seating and an outdoor balcony, which will make you feel like you are dining in New York City… minus the 20 floors! The fit out is contemporary, with a British theme running throughout – think pictures of all the past Queens and seats printed with the UK flag. Their tables are fit for royalty, with starch white tablecloths, napkins, fancy cutlery and their ‘Q’ logo evident on the wine glasses, outdoor umbrellas and sliding glass doors. Their motto is “Feel like a Queen, Eat like a King” and we felt like just that.
We loved their extensive drinks list, featuring a selection of interesting wines and beers, spirits, mocktails, and most importantly, cocktails. There were many cocktail sections – classic cocktails, house cocktails, Prosecco cocktails, and even low-alcohol cocktails (although I don’t know why anyone would bother with that). I loved the sound and look of The Aristocrat with tequila, elderflower liqueur and prosecco. It was very refreshing, but unfortunately nothing special. I could hardly taste the three ingredients – it tasted mostly like lime juice! However, the Wild Earth Pinot Gris and Hawkes Bay IPA hit the spot.
Queens Cafe Bistro’s food is modern European, incorporating local New Zealand produce. You will find the usual fare, like seafood, lamb, beef, fish, pork belly, pasta and salads. We ordered a starter, two mains and two desserts. We enjoyed the following dishes:
– Summer Tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with prosciutto, baby spinach and capers. This was a lovely starter, and paired with a glass of white wine, it was the perfect combination on our balmy evening.
– Pan Fried Gnocchi with asparagus, Parmesan, broad beans, mushrooms and butter sauce. We loved the gnocchi, which was cooked perfectly, however there was too much sauce, which was very rich. This is also only one of two vegetarian dishes on the whole menu.
– Slow Cooked Lamp Rump with baby carrots, carrot puree, beetroot, goats cheese fritter, roasted hazelnuts and lamb jus. This dish was almost perfect – the lamb and flavours divine, but it had one small let down… I may be picky, but the carrot tops were still intact! No one actually eats the green part, so why put it on the plate?
For dessert, we ordered their White Chocolate Panna Cotta with kiwifruit, meringue, white crumble and coconut sorbet. This dish looked lovely and all the accompaniments tasty, but unfortunately the Panna Cotta was not set and very runny. We wouldn’t order this dish again.
However, we loved their 74% Valrhona Chocolate Creamoux with fresh raspberries, macarons, honeycomb and raspberry sorbet. To me, this dish (along with the lamb and buffalo mozzarella salad) were the highlights of the night. The creamoux was dense, soft and creamy. Very beautiful and dreamy! I also loved the shards of honeycomb, and the raspberry sorbet was divine. I would highly recommend this dessert.
Queens Cafe Bistro may have to make a few small tweaks, but overall, we loved the food, atmosphere, friendly staff, and of course, the spacious outdoor balcony. This may just be Auckland’s newest hidden gem…!
Queens Cafe Bistro
Open for Brunch, lunch and dinner, 10am to 10pm, seven days
Address Level 2, Queens Arcade, 34 Queen Street, Auckland CBD
Notes Definitely request an outdoor table when booking! They also offer High Tea.
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