Photographs: David Straight
Rockefeller is an oyster and champagne bar in in a fantastic old brick warehouse on a windswept expanse of Fanshawe Street, a relic of a former age when this was the edge of the harbour and and there were no buses or cars racing to get to the motorway. It’s classic in the way you’d expect an oyster bar to be – heavy timber beams, exposed brick walls, marble and butcher’s tiles – but there are also mod lights and a touch of industrial punk. There’s also a highly excellent soundtrack: it’s owned by Camilla Martin (bFM, among other things) and Tim Arnold (Pluto).
The service is great and so is the champagne – what a list! – but most importantly, they do an excellent Negroni. You sit in the window and there is a sense of the city rushing and heaving around you: eating oysters is all about time and contemplation of something incredibly simple. We’ve eaten Nelson Bay Kono oysters ($6 a pop) and a mixed dozen ($38) of Kaipara Pacifics and some beautiful, creamy, intense Te Matukus from Waiheke Island. They also do some of the best hand-cut chips in town – they are mammoth, crunchy on the outside and perfectly fluffy inside, great big builder finger chips.
We’ve eaten the “Member of the Board” ($39) platter of seasonal fish and that was pretty good, but after the deathly simple elegance of an oyster, it seemed somehow too complicated. We plan to come here often and eat chips and oysters and drink Negronis. What else do you need? SFG
HOURS Tuesday and Saturday, 4pm until late; Wednesday to Friday, 12pm until late.
ADDRESS 104 Fanshawe Street, City, ph 379-4209. rockefelleroysterbar.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS You can book, and make sure you do – this joint is quickly becoming the local for corporates around the area.