Orleans, Britomart

It was a cold and rainy evening that saw us traipsing up to Orleans, a restaurant I'd heard much about located on the quaint Roukai Lane in Britomart in the heart of Auckland city. The weather, however, did not deter our mood. This was our first date night since arriving in Auckland three months ago, and I was excited to be heading to a distinctly unchild-friendly venue to enjoy a night of good food and cocktails. 

Inspired by the culture, diversity and vibrancy of New Orleans and dreamt up by the team behind Mexico, the basic ingredients of this characterful Britomart venue are its upbeat yet relaxed atmosphere, incredible food and extraordinary value. Orleans is also one of the few dining establishments in town that has live music every Wednesday through Sunday evening.



The place was packed when we arrived and we were told we'd have to wait half an hour for a table. Unfortunately, one cannot make a reservation here unless you're a party of eight or more. We were hungry but didn't mind the wait as we headed to a nearby bar for a drink. The table did become available as promised (just after we'd finished with our drinks) so it was not much of a hardship. 

This eatery is unlike any other I've seen in the city. It is casual and sophisticated at the same time, complete with exposed walls and bits and pieces of trinkets from the Deep South, with a bandstand on one end, and a charming, exposed bar counter on the other. 


The menu is not extensive but filled with exciting 'small' and 'big' dishes packed full of Cajun and Creole flavors celebrating the freshness, diversity and intense flavour of Southern cuisine. I'm happy to report that everything we tried tasted as good as it sounded on paper, if not better.



Our Curly Fries with creole salt and chipotle mayo were so more-ish and delightful I couldn't stop myself from popping one in after the other, even though I knew it would probably fill me up far too soon. I also absolutely loved the Orleans 'Oyster's Rockafella (we ordered one each), which were an explosion of flavor in my mouth, and the Jamabalaya Rice Balls, which were savory mouthfuls of delightful crispiness on the outside, and oozy, creamy rice fillings on the inside.




I knew what I'd wanted for my main before even stepping into the restaurant. The Chicken Waffle with sage butter, maple chipotle glaze and fried sage leaves have been calling my name since I saw it on the menu on the website, and it did not disappoint. The dish was so unique and flavorful, with the chicken beautifully crispy, and a lovely mouthfuls of combined savoriness and sweetness at the same time. I've never had anything quite like it, and would have happily eaten another plateful if I'd had more room in my tummy. 

The Husband's Pulled Pork Po' Boy was also a delicious concoction of juicy meat and coleslaw, again a mouth-watering combination of beautiful flavours and texture, which we thoroughly enjoyed, although The Husband commented that the portion of pork was a little too little compared to the rest of the sandwich. 

Other items that jumped out at me from the menu are the Crispy Pork Belly, Low Country Gumbo, Shrimp Cassoulet, and of course I still have to try the Crisp Fish Po' Boy as well as the Buttermilk and Green Onion Biscuit Po' Boy, which all sounds enticing and delicious.


Our date night ended on a sweet note with the Butterscotch Pot De Creme, bruleed and served with chocolate soil and Chantilly creme. The cream was beautiful, but the layer of bruleed sugar was a little too thick for my liking. Overall, I loved the flavours of the dessert which wasn't too sweet or heavy and the perfect end to our wonderful meal and night. 

It's safe to say that we will be returning to Orleans whenever we can. This restaurant, while perhaps not the best place for a romantic date night (it does get quite loud), has all the perfect ingredients for a fun night out on the town - great food, great cocktails, great music, and an absolutely great vibe. What more could anyone want?

Orleans
Roukai Lane
48 Customs Street East
Britomart, Auckland
Tel: +64 9 309 5854

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