Queenie’s Lunchroom, Freemans Bay

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
~ A.A. Milne

Quick post, ‘cos I want to dive back into Jostein Gaarder’s “The Castle in the Pyrenees” after this. I’m so keen to read tonight that I don’t even have time to cook… I’m eating a pie. An honest-to-goodness, really-bad-for-you and not-even-that-nice-tasting pie. And cheese + crackers. Tonight, I’m doing away with dishes and I’m feeding myself with words.

Photo above © Babiche Martens

I just wanted to pop in quickly to say Queenie’s Lunchroom is one super place. I don’t know what I like best about it – I just know that in the two times I’ve been there recently, there was so much to smile about before the food even came… and then there was no quittin’ smiling. Quality coffee (all the more noticeable in Auckland, city of hit-and-miss in this area). Candy-striped seats. An avalanche of magazines available to read, which I left untouched only because I had engaging company. Cute stone steps set into the grassy patch outside. Happy-looking customers. Whimsical walls and floors. A fun array of baking on the counter. The warm generosity of Grandma in the air. An enticing menu where I actually couldn’t decide between options simply because I actually wanted them all… oh I already look forward to my next visit.

Everything I have tasted here has been delicious. The sight of “Turkish eggs with baba ghanoush, yoghurt, hot chilli butter & toast” on the menu was hardest to resist on my first visit, so I eventually (after re-reading the menu at least 20 times) chose that. It turned out to be a medley of sweet and smoky, warm and wonderful with the gently spiced eggplant, temperate chilli butter and silky cool yoghurt weaving a gentle blanket around the poached eggs. Fresh warm toast sat in a comfortable, lazy stack next to it. Tucking into this, I felt like a snug worm in a cocoon.

Mom, my sweet dining companion on that occasion, ordered the omelette, which is the most ordinary item at most places – but not here. Here it comes with smoked fish (!), spring onions, capers and cream cheese and a mini garden of greens – fresh and flavourful, she enjoyed it… and I certainly enjoyed my bite (or two) of it too. Mom and I also shared a serving of citrus dressed avocado – the pairing of sharp citrus and nutty creaminess was perfect. Spring on a plate.

My second visit to Queenie’s was with my friend Carmi, who made brunch a most beautiful occasion – we talked about things deep, and also things funny. I so enjoyed being in her presence… Carmi ordered the Greenlip mussel, chorizo & red capsicum fritters with lemon aioli & rocket – all ingredients that shine in a NZ kitchen, me thinks! And I got the Kosheri, having been told by the waitress that it was her favourite dish. When I tucked into that impossibly fluffy Egyptian rice with lentils and spinach nestled in it, and that creamy tomato, avocado and yoghurt salad on the side, I could totally see why she recommended this. It was humble, real, and bursting with light.

It’s always worth listening to a waitress whose eyes shine when you ask her what her favourite dish on the menu is, and why. :-)

After a long and leisurely brunch, Carmi and I ordered a meringue to share, which came with a generous helping of crème fraîche and berries. It was light, biscuit-y, crumbly and firm; tart, cool and sweet… the perfect sweet finish on a sunny afternoon.

Queenie’s Lunchroom – 24a Spring Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland – Phone: 09 378 8977


17 responses to “Queenie’s Lunchroom, Freemans Bay

  1. Bunny Eats Design

    Wow, that sounds like a very interesting menu. Nothing like the usual cafe defaults. I love that you asked the waitress what her favourite dish is and it’s great that she obliged. The worst is when you ask and the server either doesn’t want to tell you, or hasn’t really tried the menu. I’ve always wanted to, but haven’t yet dared to ask the question when eating at a new place in an foreign country. Maybe I should try this first.

    • Genie, yes too true – actually quite often the server isn’t quite knowledgeable about the food or they just don’t even look like they want to be there! Pity really, it makes such a difference… the people @ Queenie’s are great to approach though :-)

  2. Sounds like a great place. I hope one day we’ll have a chance to get there. :)

  3. Sounds like a place I’d love to visit! I like the wimsy, quaint places! And those eggs look delicious!!

  4. Yum! I went to Queenie’s finally when I was in Auckland a couple of months ago and loved it. Had a fish pie which was perfect for winter :)

    I keep hearing about those Turkish eggs, will have to go back for them!

    And I so know what you mean about feeding yourself with words – I’ve been in bookworm mode for the last few months which is probably why there’s been a lack of exciting things on my blog – have mostly been eating same-y salads or takeaways so I can get back to my book! Enjoy :)

    • Yum, fish pie. I didn’t see that at the menu – will have to remember that on a rainy day!

      Haha re books. Sigh though I just feel like doing everything so still here blogging at 1am!

  5. Next time I come home we will go and visit! c

  6. “After rereading the menu 20 times” Bahaha, so like me! I work at a couple of cafes and am so big on knowing what the meals are all about so I can advise. This place sounds like a great cafe. I live really central ie. at the bottom of the main st (Victoria) in town. Except my husband and I are housesitting in Hamilton East for another week. Fun, wedding!! No doubt I know your friends – Hamilton is a small place :P

    • Hi Christina, I wish everyone working in cafes were like you! :-) Ah I actually know that street – went on a walk there when I was last in Hamilton! I am sure everyone knows everyone too, lol. Look forward to next visit!

  7. I love Queenies too, even though it is a major hike to get there for me it is well worth it and Millys is always the next stop!

  8. Love Queenies & those Turkish eggs are my favourite breakfast just about anywhere, I can’t seem to resist them so the rest of the menu remains untasted! I really must try harder to try something else off the menu!

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