Understated and excellent. Hidden gem in Auckland CBD

TripAdvisor 5 stars

I was not aware of Touquet until I came across the listing via the Auckland edition of the Entertainment book that we had recently purchased to support Paralympics New Zealand. It was a late impulse booking made in an idle moment early afternoon on a Friday to dine with my wife that evening. I was pleasantly surprised to discover when I called to book that the staff are french – so points for authenticity even before we walked through the door.

Touquet is located in Auckland CBD a short stroll up O’Connell Street, past two of the better known fine dining restaurants (O’Connell Street Bistro and Wine Chambers). The place has a understated look to it from the outside, so that you happen upon it almost before you know it, and this theme is continued as you walk through the doors. Touquet offers unpretentious, authentic and quite excellent french bistro dining; and with that sort of style and class there is no need to shout. The quietly efficient and highly capable staff greeted us warmly and we instantly relaxed into the comfortable elegance of the place.

The menu is not extensive but is very well chosen and I was impressed at how well they catered for my wife who is vegetarian, which is not generally something you associate with french cuisine. We shared two starters that were both excellent and when it came to the main course I felt confident enough in the chef to order my eye fillet steak cooked rare. If the mood of the place is relaxed and elegant, the food is superlative. I would rate the meal as a whole as possibly the best I have experienced in Auckland CBD during our three years in country. There were also nice little touches like complimentary appetizers that along with the service made you feel very well taken care of. I finished the meal with a cheese course, which is not something I would often do in New Zealand, and it did not disappoint – absolutely excellent.

The wine list boasts a well chosen range of both French and New Zealand wines, with the odd Australian and Argentinian wine thrown in for good measure. I opted for an modestly priced glass of Bordeaux to start and then a glass of the excellent Janasse Cote du Rhone to accompany my main course. The staff were very knowledgeable in helping to inform my selections, which for a wine geek as I am made a real impression.

Since our visit to Touquet I have raved about the place and I would unreservedly recommend it for anyone living in the area or visiting Auckland. I noticed a few passers by looking at the menu outside the restaurant and I lamented their folly each time they walked on afterwards – I fondly hope they were making a note to return at a future date.


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