[Pictures: Todd Eyre]
We were greeted with a cocktail menu, a good one. There was a Rhubarb Sour and a Mellow Yellow, a delicious fuzzy confection with tequila and limoncello and gin. The Engine Room is light and bright and airy. There are no table cloths, the service is relaxed but responsive. In fact, the staff seem to know what you want just as you think of it, and there they are, quietly at your elbow. Drink? Yes please.
The menu is ever changing, but certain dishes remain – the steak frites with hotel butter, which is excellent: a big, bloody slab of gorgeous meat cooked precisely to medium rare (which, is quite rare, actually, getting your steak done just right). A great smear of hotel butter sits atop it, melting nicely into a salty puddle. The wine list is short and to the point; advice is sound. The schnitzel was impressive too, simultaneously tender and crisp, served atop a potato rosti with coleslaw and caper butter. Stray from the classics and find dishes that are equally pleasing but a little more inventive – a saffron pannacotta with rhubarb and rosewater; snapper on burgul pilar with fennel, currants and bhaba ghanoush. Is it expensive? A little – mains are all above $30, perhaps because it’s in the suburban enclave of Northcote Point. We suggest you venture across the bridge – it’s a trip worth making. NS
HOURS Tuesday to Saturday, dinner from 6pm. Friday, lunch from 12:30.
ADDRESS 115 Queen Street, Northcote Point, ph 480-9502. www.engineroom.net.nz