The French Cafe
- Lunch: Fri 12 noon – 2.30pm
- Dinner: Tue – Sat 6pm – Late
- Private Dining Room
- Private Functions
- Wedding Functions
- Payment Types: EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Diners
- Price Range: Splurge, Above $35
- Good For Groups: Yes
- Takes Reservations: Yes
- Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarian
- Outdoor Seating: Yes
- Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Dessert
Supreme Winner of the 2013 Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards, The French Cafe serves contemporary European cuisine in a sophisticated and intimate environment, and was famously described as ‘everyone’s favourite dining destination’ by Lauraine Jacobs, when The French Cafe won ‘Best Smart Dining’ in the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008.
Jacobs said: “Consistently delivering a polished performance, it has set a benchmark for service, for delicious, well-thought-out food and an exemplary wine list. And the husband and wife team who own and run The French Café constantly refine both the menu and the ambience. It is smart, urbane and a comfortably contemporary venue served by Creghan Molloy-Wright’s well-managed and thoroughly knowledgeable staff.
“Simon Wright’s food would stand scrutiny in any city in the world. His menus have broad appeal and the beautifully presented dishes display technical skill with wonderful flavour management . . . A visit is certain to provide the most memorable dining experience, but note bookings are essential”.
Our new private dining room, The French Kitchen, is now open. We have created a beautiful serene dining room looking out onto our edible garden. Situated across the courtyard from the main restaurant, the space is available for 10-30 guests.
You can enjoy a five course tasting menu, prepared in the open kitchen by Simon Wright or Sebastian Hindrichs. The French Kitchen is perfect for special occasions, whether corporate or personal.
28 Reviews for The French Cafe
We were not disappointed at all. The menu was laid out exquisitely, while not vast, it catered for everyone’s needs and wants.
I highly recommend the Spanner Crab Risotto as a starter which was a taste explosion like no other, for an entree I had the egg yolk ravioli (stunning) and main was the snapper (delectable).
The wine we chose was French and it was SUPERB!!!!! The waiting staff were attentive and refilled our glasses when needed.
I didn’t have dessert as the three courses were more than adequate. This is a where you go for a top quality gastronomic experience, not a belt strainer meal.
LOVE LOVE LOVED IT !!!! Could not be faulted at all. Excellent does not cover our dining experience here.
Recommended to all. Just be prepared for the big bill at the end!
I couldn’t understand criticisms of seating and decor, as both were perfectly acceptable. From where we were seated we could see the chefs beavering away in the kitchen, and they seemed to be relaxed and happy.
My wife asked me last night if we could make The French Cafe a regular anniversary experience, and I was only too pleased to agree with her.
French Cafe’s ambience is only par for the course. This place is not interested in blowing you away with opulence. Comfy black chairs without arm-rests ,standard-issue table-top decor, and black carpets afford basic elegance. A large abstract painting -akin to the the pattern of red wine voluptuously swirling into a clear viscous medium adoMorerns a wall of the inner dining area where I was seated. This location has a sleekly compact view of the chefs in action. Freebies like bread shells provided bang for hidden buck only after being anointed with smoked salted butter. Crayfish Canelloni further enriched with bechamel sauce was good but not outrageously so, and its leek-based accoutrement did not sing. Tenors then shifted to a higher better level with Langoustine risotto that was boldly al dente,and given softer persuasions by pairing it with a shell-fish foam finely redolent of its intended essence. The troika on the plate was completed by mustard ice-cream- a restrained but keen creation that brought compatible sharpness when mixed into the other two. It was a refined example of how to make dessert slip back into the savoury courses.
Service, though polite and accomodative, was a mixed bag. Sure,they’ll explain all the dish’s components to you before each course, new cutlery is placed on a petite block of wood each time a new course starts, and every member of the staff I spoke to, including the maitre’d, had commendable knowledge of the dish’s constituents. But empty plates take time to be cleared off, feedback is rarely,if ever,asked and my glass of diminishing water initially took one hour to be re-filled. Anyway,’twas inspiring to see the French-looking head chef at the kitchen’s forefront busily constructing and composing for almost the entire length of my 210 minute meal, while purposely avoiding any confluence of gaze with his customers. His snappy supervision revealed its class in the eating. .A balantine of quail was exquisitely docile,wrapped as it was in a smoky coat of bacon and crowned by truffled butter.Parked beside it was a gear-smoothening innovation of “Croissant puree” which was lushly creamy and lightly infused with oven-baked aromas.Seared duck was superbly cooked with a crisp exterior. The gentlest parts of it were sashimi-like in their satiny softness.When simultaneously sampled with bok choy, luxuriously buttery kumara puree and sweet mandarin sauce, it continued to synthesize harmonious symphonies.
A 9 course meal here stretches across 3 and a 1/2 hours- apart from lavishing every facet of your attention on how the restaurant around you functions, you also have time to contemplate life’s fullness. One can also note finer details of service, like the hostess changing a tablecloth by slipping in the new one against the receding one in such a way that the table’s bare surface is never exposed.However,this long span also accentuates the odd moment of disappointment. Roasted goats cheese tart, served over beetroot onion fig and a pastry disc enclosed by circles of red-wine-balsalmic was the only dish that did not deliver cohesive pleasure. Champagne granita avec frills stood in as my requested replacement for a buttermilk dessert- ’twas a decked-up palate-cleanser rather than a handsome dessert.I was disappointed by the kitchen’s reluctance to go-for-broke on that course.
The end of this NZ$145 Chef’s 9 course tasting menu worth its tarriff was signalled by Textures of Chocolate – a pond of choco mousse amply studded with crunchy chocs’n'nuts and a couple of orange slices that overall packed invigorating vibrancy while the eponymous ice-cream’s chilled clouds provided bracing contrast. As the night drew to a close (there will be several future visits), Chef Simon Wright agreed to my request for a quick meeting and was very kind as I congratulated and praised the man profusely. After all, it is not daily that I get to taste the cuisine of a meticulous craftsman,an expert artist.
Such an absolute pleasure to be able to eat here, and you should do so, at least once in your lifetime. I cannot fault The French Cafe on anything, impecciable service, clean lines, comfortable surroundings and the food for me is pure, magical delight.
The meal started with a complimentary pumpkin and trufle soup, we then enjoyed a range of other courses, sharing from each others plates became quite necessary – such was the appearance and refined tastes of what was before us. The highlight for myself was a first course of eel servced with caramelised apple, pancetta and micro cress – The description does the dish insufficient justice, the taste is sublime!
The French Cafe have a service team that are chosen for their personality and then clearly have a thorough training – because its rare we receive this level of service in New Zealand.
Speaking to my wife afterwards, we have decided we’d like to live there – permanently
The French Cafe exceeded every and all high expectations we had. The food was superb (I still think about that scallop and pork belly dish, a few weeks later). It was brought out all at the same time and with the right amount of time between servings. It goes without saying that the matched wines were perfect.
The service was outstanding. One of the party that is permanently on crutches noticed that as he made his way to the bathroom, waiters in his vicinity would open all the doors between our table and the bathroom before he even had a chance to request them to.
Overall, an amazing experience and if you have the urge to splurge, I highly recommend to visit the best in the business, the French Cafe.
Always up there in the top three a great experience we ensure we eat there every visit.
I give it 5 stars and I am not generous with my last one superb
The reason we keep going back is The French Cafe is a rare jewel in the NZ dining scene, a sophisticated restaurant that can do what it does so very well in any country, not just NZ.
For first class food, service and a lovely wine list that is one of the best bargains in Auckland. Just go!