Last weekend, I dined at Auckland’s newest pop up, focused on serving craft beer, gourmet comfort food and providing top notch entertainment, including live bands, DJs and comedy. Introducing The Nightingale.
This new craft beer pop up bar is situated in the Viaduct, between Danny Doolans and Soul Bar & Bistro. Its great location means stunning views of the sail boats and harbour, making it the perfect spot for lunch, dinner and after work drinks.
We loved the bright and funky decor as you walk in and the feature wall of artsy Nightingales – rare birds which sing both day and night. Hence the name The Nightingale, as this restaurant and bar is open all day and almost all night!
The atmosphere is buzzing too, particularly on the upstairs outdoor balcony. I highly recommend sitting up top if you can get a spot – the views are stunning, plus the bar opens out onto the balcony. #winning. If balconies are not your style, then you can also sit outside on the ground level (complete with wood fire burners for cold wintery nights) or inside at the bar, at funky tables or in colourful booths.
Now, onto the beer and food!
We ordered two beers – Jupiler (from Belgium) and Speights Gold Medal. While they are not craft beers, they were still great choices, in terms of price, and perfect for our very sunny Saturday afternoon.
We loved the food menu, which is designed to be matched with their beers. Our waitress described the food as gourmet comfort food. And it is. Platters to share, burgers with fries, poutine, mac ‘n’ cheese, Belgian waffles with fried chicken, duck fat potatoes and for dessert, Grandma’s chocolate cake and key lime pie.
While I was set on ordering the Southern Chicken n’ Waffle, we couldn’t go past their Burger Platter ($65) – your choice of 8 small versions of their burgers, plus a giant size of poutine on the side. Yum.
Burger options included:
- Flame Grilled Angus Beef Burger with tomato, lettuce, pickles and a surprising spicy mustard aioli
- Buttermilk Soaked Southern Fried Chicken with lettuce, avocado and chipotle mayo
- Manuka Smoked Pulled Pork with Tennessee whiskey sauce, crispy shallots, bread and butter pickled cabbage and red onion
- Tabasco Brined Oyster Po Boy breaded in cornmeal on a tender hoagie with lettuce, tomato and homemade aioli
- Marinated Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke, with a lovely olive tapenade and The Nightingale’s own parmesan aioli
We ordered 2 x Vegetarian, 2 x Oyster Po Boy, 2 x Buttermilk Fried Chicken, 1 x Angus Beef and 1 x Pulled Pork. There was a bit of a wait for the burger platter and poutine, however it was worth it. We loved the presentation and the burgers were too cute!
Surprisingly, the waitress mixed up our order. We received two pork burgers and were missing the beef. When we explained to her, she rushed back to the kitchen and two mini beef burgers were made, at no extra charge. So, we ended up eating 5 mini burgers each, plus a mountain of fries. I am not complaining!
Our favourites out of the five burgers were the Manuka Smoked Pulled Pork (for its killer Tennessee whiskey sauce and tender pulled pork), the Tabasco Brined Oyster Po Boy (because, well, oysters in a burger!) and the Marinated Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke (a great vegetarian option, with huge chunks of vegetables).
The Poutine, however, was another story. Great fries and stringy cheese curd, but the let-down was the gravy. I imagined it would be a thick beef gravy like the poutines I have had before, but it was watery, and sat at the bottom of the dish, and we just couldn’t dip our fries into it. Frustrating!
The Nightingale has the odd thing to improve on… the Poutine?… but overall, the beer selection is extensive, the location is perfect with stunning views, the service is welcoming and efficient, and we loved the idea of comfort food – ideal for the upcoming cold wintery nights. But pop in quick, as it is only open for six months!
* I received a voucher for The Nightingale, courtesy of the restaurant, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.
Open Monday to Sunday, 11.30am till late
Address 204 Quay Street, Viaduct Auckland
Notes Extensive beer selection / takes bookings / the upstairs balcony has the best views of the harbour
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