O’Connell St Bistro is located on the corner of Shortland and O’Connell Street in central Auckland that provides an intimate dining atmosphere and a lovely European cuisine. My friend and I visited this bistro on an early Saturday night and due to the small dining room, were told that we needed to vacate the table by 8:15pm (which we agreed as we were pretty hungry).
The place is indeed rather intimate as a square table that is perfect for two diners were also used for a party of four. Just imagine how they could fit four dinner plates, 4 sets of cutlery as well as 4 water and wine glasses! Anyways, for starters, we both ordered something from the specials. My friend ordered the whitebait omelette served with green salad whereas I ordered the steak tartar served with a quail’s egg and potato sticks. Both entrees were superb! The omelette was light and filled with whitebait and the raw steak were excellent with the quails egg as well as the red onion.
We had a harder time choosing our mains owing to the fact that the main menu only offered fish for my non meat-eater friend. So we ended up both ordering fish mains. I had the fish of the day which was a monk fish served with roasted fennel, capers, porcini mushrooms and pea shoots and my friend picked the seared salmon with asparagus, broad beans, and baby mizuna. Both fish were cooked perfectly but were slightly on the salty side which was rather disappointing.
By the time we finished our mains, it was around 8pm. As the meal wouldn’t be complete without desserts, we asked to be seated at the bar to complete our meal. Even though the bar was small, it was actually more spacious compared to the full dining room. We ordered the Valrhona chocolate fondant served with ice cream and berry syrup and the iced white chocolate parfait with fresh raspberries and honey tuille. The warm fondant had an excellent consistency and the gooey centre were a great match with the ice cream. The white chocolate chunks in the parfait were also very tasty but the honey tuille was the best part of this dessert.
Overall, O’Connell Street Bistro is a lovely dining place for couples due to the intimate settings. It’s also best suited for people with slightly smaller appetite as the portions of food is rather insufficient for any big eaters (even with entree, mains and desserts). The food itself is excellent, but it lacks a stunning presentation as we do ‘eat’ with our vision as well as our taste. Therefore, I would have to grade this bistro as an ‘above average’ rather than excellent. However, I would gladly come back again!
Date: Saturday 2nd October 2010 | Location: 3 O’Connell Street, Auckland CBD | Food: European Bistro Style