442 Richmond Road,
(09) 360 9537
The ViewAuckland Review
3 out of 5 stars
This is the story of Robert, Robyn and Andrew. Robert’s obviously a popular guy, and his friends have packed out Malt’s outdoor area from 5pm for a surprise party for their good mate. There are probably around 50 of Robert’s buddies out there, so the area is buzzing, and the scene at the bar inside resembles a Friday night at the Viaduct more than an early Saturday evening in West Lynn. The crush at the bar is also due to the fact there’s actually another private function – this time for Robyn – being held inside the same time. So far, so good – if your name is Robert or Robyn anyway.
Around 6pm birthday boy Andrew shows up. His arrival has been pre-announced by a row of tables trimmed with “Reserved for Andrew – 6pm” signs. The planning would have gone something like this. “Let’s have a birthday dinner for 12 in Malt’s garden bar”.
Most weekends that would be a perfectly fine assumption, but crazily Andrew’s now getting to share his birthday with Robert’s increasingly noisy crew less than a metre away. So when is a private function not really a private function? Certainly not on this Saturday night. Little wonder the Gypsy Tea Room across the road is taking full advantage of the overflow. I wonder if they’ve got room for Andrew.
Putting aside Malt’s predatory approach to group bookings, what’s it really like? With three bookings on one night, it’s obviously very popular, and our earlier visits have reinforced it’s probably the city’s best Monteith’s bar. Unlike The Bluestone Room off Queen St, or the Drake in Freeman’s Bay, Malt has a great outdoor area. Trimmed with native plants and topped with a snazzy roof that can be opened or closed to let in the breeze or keep out the rain, it’s ideal for a few lazy summer’s evening drinks. (Or a combined party if your name is Robert or Andrew - even if you don’t know each other).
Inside is all nooks and crannies with a combination of banquettes and stools, and Monteith’s 21st-century Kiwi rustic approach to interior design. The diverse menu covers everything from Moroccan lamb wraps to Fish and Chips, and at fifty bucks the taster plates (meat, seafood or antipasto) are good value. Robert and Robyn’s friends seem to be enjoying them anyway.
It’s only early summer, so there’s still plenty of time to enjoy Auckland’s best Monteith’s bar.
Just make sure you ask the right questions if you’re planning on having your birthday there. Happy birthday Andrew.
Malt Restaurant & Bar has been reviewed by 13 users