Mahi Eats: Atelier - Another French Neo-Bistro
BY MAHI KUMAR
The top tier ambiance and vibes of Atelier saves it from a low overall rating.
18 April 2023
French Neo-bistros are really a thing huh. Today we hit another one.
K road is home to many of our loved tapas-esque, date night drinks and dining spots. I love the likes of Bar Celeste, Pici, Candela and so much of what K road has to offer. Atelier is no exception.
Atelier has one of the nicest ambiances of the K-road spots because it’s spacious, dimly lit, feels extremely luxurious and has a colourful bar area. It feels and looks like a high class bistro in New York. The vibes are immaculate. To be honest, I keep going back here because of how lovely the location is, and also because it provides the perfect energy for a girls night out or a date night. The cocktails aren’t out the gate divine, but the last time I went, they did have a killer espresso martini that’s salted caramel flavour.
Created by French executive chefs Keilan Monteil and Alexis Petit, the menu is designed to be cooked using French techniques with New Zealand’s produce.
I’ve actually had almost every menu item because in all honesty the portions aren’t all that large. To be full here, you will end up ordering almost every item on the menu and doubling dishes up in some situations (neat foreshadowing on my Quantity rating here…).
I always get the freshly shucked te matuku oysters topped with seagrapes, green oil and togarashi ($6). As an oyster girl, adding a pinch of sweetness and citrus with seagrapes but balancing that out with a Japanese spice mix is genius.
For your chip-esque carbohydrate choice, they have two options. First of which is the purple kumara crisps ($12) which is nothing special (and as expected are just kumara crisps served with hummus). I far prefer the duck fat potatoes ($12) which are rich, large in size and served with an aioli. They are so crunchy that I always try to convince the girls we need two sets.
Next, the truffle stracciatella ($22) is a must. If you’re an avid Mahi Eats reader then you know that I love both truffle and cheese. This is served up with some prosciutto, wild rockets and pear for that perfect balance of sweet and savoury. It’s topped with pine nuts for some crunch.
The Candied pumpkin ($18) is also a common pick which is served with a soy kumara puree and some wild rice. This is alright, the flavours aren’t mind blowing and you can do without it. I feel similarly about the courgette ($22) which is served with lentils, cashew nuts and tahini. While this is tasty, it’s nothing to write home about.
The roasted camembert ($28) topped with manuka honey and rosemary tastes divine and is usually devoured within seconds when eaten with their fresh baguette ($6). Although this is absolutely delectable, it really doesn’t sit right with me about paying $28 for cheese to be topped with honey, and I often make this at home with chilli, sea salt, rosemary and honey for my charcuterie boards.
What really steals the show here though are the desserts. The menu is constantly evolving, so at the moment, the dessert that does it for me is the Paris Brest ($16). This is a classic french pastry which is a crispy ring shaped dessert made of choux pastry. This is cut open to house a hazelnut flavoured cream. In the past, they’ve also had profiteroles (which were flat white flavoured!!). These were sweet, with the right balance of bitter. Absolutely divine and made of the same choux pastry filled with cream.
For the rating:
I have very mixed feelings about Atelier. For one, the vibes and the ambiance of the restaurant are immaculate. I have to add a 0.5 point for how much I love the atmosphere of Atelier, which is the main reason I’ve gone back.
For Price I have to give it a 6. It’s expensive. And while that’s expected at a tapas style restaurant, this tends to be more so than usual.
This flows right into Quantity which I'm giving a 5. The portions aren’t inherently large, meaning every time I've been here we’ve had to order a decent amount of dishes which all stacks up.
For Quality, I give it a 7. The food is objectively good, but there’s something that really detracts from it being incredible bar the desserts. A lot of the flavours are nice, but don’t have me wanting more straight away.
Coming to a 6.5/10 overall - Atelier is a great place to go for a wine or drink and most definitely the desserts, but I wouldn’t say it’s my go to if you’re after a satiating meal.