Middleton, we hope, is just the beginning of a new inner-city culinary standard.
Mid-Queen Street can feel like a culinary no man’s land. A gastronomic void filled only by an impetuous Dunkin Donut or questionable serving of fried chicken and fries. Sure, it doesn’t take much to venture to Britomart, O’Connell Street or Durham Lane, but that doesn’t negate the fact that this part of the CBD is thin on the ground when it comes to sophisticated places to eat.
A new cafe and bar tucked away in the foyer at the newly refurbished building at 125 Queen Street, however, is changing all that. Middleton, it’s called, is worth seeking out if you find yourself fancying something wholesome and elevated, away from the freneticism of Auckland’s arterial avenue.
Owned by rising caféteurs, Natasha Macindoe and Roy Bell, the refined and — we hate to say it — ‘classy’ establishment is reminiscent of an intimate member’s club, equipped with inviting lounge chairs and sofas, a great big fireplace, an ample bar and a long leather booth lined with tables. The menu is a celebration of great New Zealand produce; “We try not complicate things, allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves” the operators explain. The subsequent offering is fun, varied and approachable, featuring morning options such as the toasted nut crumble with fresh honeycomb, warm fruit and crème fraîche as well as a reputedly divine plate of baked blueberry hotcakes.
Gluten-free servings of cured kingfish with halloumi, avocado, roasted beetroot, toasted nuts, salad and a poached egg make for a brain-boosting lunch, or, if you’re after something more indulgent, the delicious duck and venison game burger comes encased in a crunchy golden salted pide with black garlic and a side of duck fat potatoes. A bar menu comes into play at 3pm, an enticing range of smaller eats that pair perfectly with the drinks menu. Amongst the house cocktails there is the standout ‘Gin & Greens’ — a novel take on the traditional gin and juice that we can see ourselves getting on board with.
Middleton will no doubt play host to a captive audience via the various offices that reside above. But if you’re selective about the places you eat at in the city, it pays to know about the triumphant and understated fare on offer at this unexpected address.
Monday & Tuesday: 7am-7pm
Wednesday to Friday: 7am-10pm
Foyer of 125 Queen Street
(09) 309 0190