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 Auckland's Best Free Kids Activities

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

image
03 At The Flicks - February 2018 Film Highlights

View's guide to what's hitting the big screen this...

image
04 Auckland Arts Festival 2018

Our stand-out picks from the 2018 Auckland Arts Fe...

image
05 Best Halloween Costumes

Our pick of the best homemade Halloween costumes.

Content updated: 20/02/2018 00:46

Restaurant Reviews

Get Onboard

Make It A Date

Connect

Latest Restaurants User Reviews

  • Dr Rudi's Rooftop Brewing Co
    Good place for catching up with group of friends and family, fant...

    Twins2502 on 8/02/2018 @ 5:02 p.m.
  • Altezano Brothers
    Snickel Lane is a cute little addition to the Fort/Commerce Stree...

    LisaS_LocalHero on 8/02/2018 @ 10:45 a.m.
  • The Butcher's Son
    This place is spacious and comfy, a nice change from eating back ...

    Suzeeeee on 4/02/2018 @ 8:32 p.m.
  • The Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room
    Huge fan of Sawmill Beer anyway so when I got wind that they had ...

    dreadlockrasta on 19/12/2017 @ 8:02 a.m.
  • Rangoli
    The worst customer service in the world, got our food after hours...

    Anju on 22/10/2017 @ 8:07 a.m.
Hitwise Award Winner