Opium

Our rating 

User rating 

3 reviews
Venue Image
291 - 297 Queen Street,
Auckland Central
Auckland,


(09) 379 0888

The ViewAuckland Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byAndré Taber13/02/2007

3 out of 5

Opium is one of the most imposingly opulent spaces in Auckland.

We walked in through the slightly daunting front door—the facing wall seems to glow vibrant red, and the curved stairway to the side is like a secret passage.

Past the un-manned reception desk and through a bar without customers; eventually a bartender smiled nervously at us and set about locating us at a table.

This is designed as a place to see and be seen. Everyone who passes from the bar into the dining room is instantly on show to several tiers of booth tables. The maitresse d’ tucked us behind a table and eagerly started seeing to our food needs.

We dined between 9.30pm and 11pm, and never were more than five tables occupied. (This was Friday and Opium is in a prime position in the middle of Auckland’s cinema and theatre quarter).

Luckily the plush upholstery, grand Chinese antiques, muted lighting and funky soundtrack softened what could have been an uncomfortably empty cavern of a restaurant.

Our drinks took ages to arrive. They certainly weren’t struggling to keep up with the orders, so maybe it was the enormous distance the waiters had to walk to and fro.

To match the menu of simplified Chinese standards, I chose a pilsner from the full range of Monteith’s beers on offer ($6.50). From a competent wine list, my companion had a Waipara Hills pinot noir ($11) to counter the star anise in her choice of main.

Apart from attentive refilling of water glasses, service seemed to slow to a grinding halt. Our starter took half an hour to arrive. And it was disappointing. Billed as crispy duck salad ($18—the most expensive of the “tasters” listed separately from entrées) it was in fact a few scraps of dry, brittle duck meat hiding under mesclun salad mix. Fried lotus-root chips didn’t boost the exotic factor.

Mains were much better. My ‘drunken chicken’ ($25) was lightly seasoned with Szechuan pepper. The fat slab of breast meat had been sliced into medallions and doused in a pungent sake-based sauce.

My companion’s pork belly ($25) was also a generous helping of meat—three thick slices—but unfortunately a bit on the tough side. The star anise sauce tasted more like five-spice. Both our mains sat on a good portion of bok choy and were topped with a mound of micro-greens and shredded carrot. A side of steamed rice cost $5.

We passed on dessert as well as the maitresse d’s offer to stay for the DJ. My sources tell me Opium is always quiet. Maybe one day a parade of beautiful people would arrive to help realise its potential as a stylish venue.

Opium has been reviewed by 3 users
 

Most Read Today

image
01 List With Us!

Get your venue or event listed with View New Zeala...

image
02 Get Your Skates on this Winter!

Paradice presents Aotea Square Ice Rink with a NEW...

image
03 Auckland's Best Outlet Shops

We check out the five best spots for outlet shoppi...

image
04 Celebrity Interviews

From hollywood legends to new kids on the block, r...

image
05 Auckland's Best Free Kids Activities

We check out the best five free kids activities in...

Content updated: 25/07/2014 11:00
 

Hungry?

Restaurant Reviews

Get Onboard

Make It A Date

Connect

Latest Restaurants User Reviews

  • La Porchetta
    Prices are reasonable. I would give it 3.5 stars but can't give o...

    cantabjames on 25/07/2014 @ 8:47 a.m.
  • Mexico Takapuna
    I've been to Takapuna's Mexico more times than I care to remember...

    gretchen294 on 24/07/2014 @ 9:31 p.m.
  • Jade Dragon
    Took the kids and inlaws along to a yum char on Sunday. First tim...

    Leaguelova on 21/07/2014 @ 12:14 p.m.
  • Alfrescos Cafe & Caterers
    Great place and lovely staff :) can't wait to come back

    tmak021 on 21/07/2014 @ 9:05 a.m.
  • Cafe Viet
    We had an impromptu dinner at Cafe Viet last week. It was early ...

    Louie on 20/07/2014 @ 9:18 p.m.
Hitwise Award Winner