Venue Image
24a Spring Street,
Freemans Bay,
Freemans Bay

(09) 378 8977

The ViewAuckland Review

Review byBrett Atkinson16/02/2009

5 out of 5 stars

Maybe it’s just the current mood of this batten down the hatches recession, but there are a few cafés around town that kind of make you miss the simpler days of old. We’ve already reviewed Agnes Curran up in Ponsonby, and a just a short way down Franklin Rd, Queenie’s Lunchroom is also doing great things with a hip retro Kiwiana ambience.

You’d never know it from the outside, but the Queenie’s building is a new construction, sandwiched amidst a mix of apartments and offices in a quiet Freeman’s Bay back street. There are a few tables and chairs on a sunny patio outside, but the real retro fun kicks off inside. A huge mural – think unfinished paint by numbers meets Kiwi icons like Napier’s Pania of the Reef statue – dominates one wall. Other quirky touches include retro toasters, a vintage Kiwi shoe polish rack now dispensing servettes, paper bags and cutlery, and a cake plate decorated with naïvely drawn sketches of New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk parody duo, which is for sale along with other objects.

The Flight of the Conchords comparison is actually quite apt, because Queenie’s Lunchroom also celebrates with a cool Kiwi irony. The team behind the counter are confident and laidback, and on the menu there’s a mix of international flavours and local goodies. The counter is a padded vinyl wonder that looks like it been rescued from your uncle’s rumpus room in Pakuranga.

It’s mid morning and most people are only in for coffee, but I team a freshly baked cinnamon brioche ($4) with a sausage sandwich ($9). Crammed with spicy relish in toasted ciabatta, it’s great comfort food in these slightly uncertain times. The home-made pies also look good. Along with an alarmingly up-to-date selection of magazines, they’re another reason to return.

The breakfast menu (7am-11am) skews towards classics with a twist; how about Canadian Toast with a maple syrup update, or boiled eggs with Vegemite soldiers? Lunch (noon-2pm) is more sophisticated with a highlight being Pork Belly with mustard and lemon braised cabbage, caramelized apples and mojo rojo (a Spanish condiment made from red peppers). Again, it’s hearty comfort food, maybe what your Aunty used to make.

Of course that’s only if your Aunty was a well-travelled Kiwi foodie who had returned home to open the perfect little neighbourhood café.

Queenies Lunchroom has been reviewed by 6 users

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