114 Ponsonby Road,
(09) 360 8803
The ViewAuckland Review
Is it a bar or restaurant? Well, in the case of the newly opened Long Room in Ponsonby, it’s actually a bit of both. And if the hustle and bustle of an almost standing-room only Thursday night is any indicator, it’s a pretty clever formula in these recessionary times. Most other places along Ponsonby Rd would kill for this kind of traffic. The half-price menu on offer until 7pm has obviously dragged in some punters, but the majority are just here for a few after-work drinks.
Long Room occupies the space that was formerly the Safari Lounge, a venue that was looking more than a little tired across recent times. The new owners have totally made-over the expansive space with lots of separate areas for conversation or for dining. A whole raft of gas fires warms the elegantly furnished interior, and when Spring finally takes hold in a few weeks, the huge courtyard will be the place to be along Ponsonby Rd.
We snaffle the last outside seats – conveniently beside a big gas heater – and order drinks to see us through the essential task of getting our food order in before the 50% discount expires at 7pm. Beers on tap include Asahi, Pure Blonde and Kronenbourg, and the winelist has a good mix of Kiwi classics like Church Rd Chardonnay and a few European varietals like Spanish Tempranillo.
Although the energy of Long Room is definitely bar-like, the experienced owners, apparently with more than 30 years hospitality experience between them, have also focused on what matters in a restaurant. Service from the mainly international staff is relaxed and knowledgeable – our Irish waiter Tim has a great knowledge of the menu – and our shared bar snacks are a big step up from other bar menus around town. There is a concise menu of mains, but Long Room seems best suited as a place to while away a few hours over drinks and a few shared plates.
Our sharing includes thinly-sliced pork belly cured in miso and served on an Asian-inspired salad, salt and pepper squid with the added zing of cumin, and dukkah-crusted lamp chops. It’s all superb, and only a trio of slightly innocuous paella-rice balls drop standards slightly. This is the kind of bar food I could really get used to, and our acceptance of tonight’s 50% discount almost seems like a criminal act.
Look forward to Long Room being a new favourite bar, but just make sure you come along hungry.
Longroom has been reviewed by 11 users