Address: 115 Customs Street West, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland
Phone number: 09 3947300
Brand new restaurant in a brand new venue, situated in one of the most visited locations in Auckland for tourists and kiwis alike, the infamous Viaduct harbour! Now a short piece about the viaduct harbour which I think will set the scene for my opinions which will follow in a merciless fashion. So the viaduct harbour as a tourist destination came into being after our 1st win of the Americas cup, when Auckland had nothing to offer other than Ponsonby as a centric dining suburb.
It was exciting, vibrant and the place to be seen. Now however it is a tired, tourist driven location with restaurants and bars heavily weighted to the tourist, rugby racing and beer mentality. i.e. Glitzy bars and restaurants, loud music, mediocre food on the most part and over priced.
The entrance has all the welcoming charm of a casino, thats ok if your attracted to bright shiny things with the hope of something special awaiting you. I walked in to the restaurant a little jaded having got myself a little lost and looking for it at the other end of town, my fault for not checking on a map first, however the street number and name do not really help if you’re a tourist in finding this place, as it has its entrance far from the road and when I rang to ask where they were they said “Viaduct harbour, next to O’Haggens”. This info would help getting the punters there in the future.
I phoned earlier that day to confirm my booking to hear that they had a computer glitch and had lost some bookings, however there was no issues in booking a table for 12 on a Wednesday evening.
The interior is warm and welcoming, with plenty of dim lighting. However to the right of the entrance is THE BAR with a very large screen showing music videos, a long game table with a version of air hockey??? Why??? I have no idea. I found this a bit of an assault on the senses, the music was loud and overpowering, especially for a restaurant. it appears that they are trying to be a bit of everything which I guess suits the tourist and RR&B customers they must be trying to attract.
The bathrooms (well mens anyway) was large’ish and possibly if this place ever is full to the gunnels with boozed up punters will be able to cope well enough. They were newly painted and fitted out so looked nice, however the fit out was roughly done and I can foresee these will become degraded areas very quickly.
Waiting staff were attentive, with the right amount of humour and banter, they were well trained and polite. Interestingly though the male staff were wearing these aprons that looked like they had come out of a cobblers shop, not sure how long before a revolt occurs from the staff and the aprons are found floating in the harbour.
The menu is relatively small in options with 4 -5 mains (incl. daily specials) covering your std fare of Fish, Beef, Chicken or Lamb. All proteins are cooked on the large grille as seen in the photo’s below and promise a smokey, burnt, crunchy experience. I ordered the Rotisserie Chicken Recado Rojo with buttery mash with grilled onion & carrot slaw.
The meals are large and will satisfy your average Tourist and RR&B crowd and I guess also those who need a lot of food to feel they have received value for money. I on the other hand eat for taste and a large meal is not that appealing to me.
So in summary the Chicken dish was essentially a roast chicken with mash. Nothing spectacular either in taste or presentation, and considering the mains are between $38 – $42 for simple roast piece of meat and some vegies seems a little over priced.
I may have been alone in my options of the restaurant as all the other guests (9) at the table loved it and were suggesting they go back and even had picked out friends they knew who would love it. One comment I read earlier in the week said something along these lines “My friend went and she said it was one of the best restaurants she had been to” MMmmmm I shall reserve my comments to that statement and keep them to myself for a change.
Fifth impressions: (Final summary)
A great place for afterwork drinks and a meal with your mates, you will be full and a little out of pocket. Family friendly but only in the early part of the evening, come 9pm onwards the crown will transition to younger, louder and boozed up.
The restaurant is perfectly suited to the location (Viaduct Harbour) and is nestled amongst it cousin restaurants, so is not out of place. This next summer it will be a great destination for mid afternoon drinks, or a lazy lunch with it’s inviting harbour facing frontage full of stunning super yachts, a perfect location for people watching.