115 Queen Street
(09) 480 9502
Tuesday - Sunday
6pm - late
You’ll find it in the building that once house Northcote Point’s post office, a stunning structure, with black framed windows that play games with the evening light, giving the space a golden tinge. The Engine Room is owned and operated by Natalia Schamroth and Chef Carl Koppenhagen, a couple who took the concept of a neighbourhood bistro in 2006 and improved upon it. If you’re lucky enough to own their cookbook, you’ll know they created a menu of dishes they thought other chefs would love to eat, and they’ve succeeded, this restaurant is broadly loved and admired by the wider Auckland hospitality community, which is always a good sign.
They have won local awards for Best Neighbourhood Bistro for so many years in a row that it feels as if they will always win. The excellence of The Engine Room has remained consistent for a full decade. In 2014, the dining room was refurbished, so now you can dine at the bar, watching the chefs at work. One side of the restaurant has been opened up with giant windows that look out over the rooftops. Before it was cosy, now it’s luminous.
The menu changes with the seasons, but some dishes always remain, this is probably because there would be a public outcry if they went missing. You must try the twice-baked goats cheese souffle – a golden, molten, yet delicate dish that’s a Northcote Point treasure. The steak frites are always cooked to perfection, and the churros in rich chocolate sauce are an absolute delight. This is comforting, familiar food with a nod toward traditional Italian, served in generous portions that make three courses almost an impossibility.
It’s very easy to love the Engine Room. It’s easy to spend long evenings there, and Friday lunches in the seaside sunshine, and it’s even easier to keep going back.