Surrounded by an abundance of fresh produce and some of the best wine in the world, Auckland is paving its way as one of the best foodie cities in the world. However, I often wonder why we haven’t creatively utilised our rooftop spaces as much as we could, given that we have many tall buildings with incredible harbour views. It’s strange considering our Aussie neighbours probably spend more time eating and drinking 50 floors up than they do at ground level.
But when our friend Loic suggested we all visit one of his favourite local eateries, Neo, we were thrilled to be introduced to a rooftop bar that had not only created an impressive New York styled outdoor area with its weaving greenery and lamppost light features, but was also creating some of the most exquisite dishes in Auckland. Elevated above the hustle of Queen Street, overlooking the sparkling store front windows of Dior, it seems to be a popular hang out for the CBD workers. I have a feeling it’s one that these guys have tried to keep to themselves, but we are here to share it with you!
Neo gives me those New York feels with a mix of Scandinavian flavours that takes me back to my home style cookery. The food is delicious, original and beautifully presented. It’s my go to summer spot. I often bring friends to sit on the Instagram worthy rooftop terrace and watch all the buzz below’ – Loic Quédec
Jared shares some of his favourite Neo dishes:
Harissa Calamari: We started off with a classic calamari with a Neo twist of cumin, coriander and chili. Calamari is a favourite of mine and I don’t go easy if it’s not good, but this was cooked to perfection. Soft and tender with a crispy outside and a little spice to kick things up. Served with a preserved lemon aioli.
Beetroot Risotto: Bright, eye catching and delightful. Juiced beetroot gave the risotto a rich red pop, topped with roasted baby beetroot and candy cane beetroot, a horseradish cream and parmesan.
Roasted Root Vegetables: The perfect winter side dish for the mains. Parsnip, carrot and beetroot caramelised with rosemary, olive oil and roasted garlic, topped with chives.
Chilli Chicken Brochette: Based on an Indo Chinese Chicken 65 with loads of ginger and chilli and spices. It’s reverse fried, dipped in batter and served on the skewer with fried onion and a light cucumber and coriander salad. This is a winner.
Line Caught Snapper Burger: Everyone loves a good burger and sometimes you just feel like something light and fresh. This is that burger. A decent sized fillet of small catch, line caught snapper which is battered and topped with home made tartar sauce, pickles, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Coq Au Vin Riesling: You can not go past this dish. You can smell it before you can see it. Tender chicken with a rich and creamy baby portobello mushroom sauce. It is served with a turmeric ciabatta which is perfect to swob up the last of the sauce.
Bitter Almond Crème Brûlée: A thin crusted almond based Crème Brûlée. This is one for Instagram. Raisins, almonds and strawberry with a crunch.
Winter Sour: A bourbon based cocktail, warmed up with a drop of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon and orange. My kind of winter warmer.
Emerald Fizz: A sunny mid afternoon summer pick-me-up. Gin, cucumber, mint and a dash of Prosecco.
Glogg Light: They have an impressive list of non alcoholic cocktails catering for the after work drink crowd. A good mocktail should be as enjoyable as a cocktail and this one was exactly that. Cranberry, star anise, cardamom, mandarin and topped with soda.
Neo caters to many, not only the inner city workers. While sitting on the outdoor couch I was looking at it thinking it would be perfect for an intimate event. The balcony honestly made me feel like I was back in New York or somewhere in Europe. A gorgeous date night option if you were out to impress or a relaxed afternoon with friends in the sun. During winter the indoor space is beautifully fitted, with a fierce fire to snuggle up close to.
Location: Queens Arcade, Level 1/34-40 Queen Street, Auckland CBD
Hours: Mon/Tues 8am – 4pm, Wed/Thurs 8am – 8pm, Fri 8am – 9pm, Sat/Sun 8am – 5pm