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St Heliers Cafe & Bistro

3_half star rating
30 reviews

Cuisine: A La Carte

387 Tamaki Drive
St Heliers
Auckland City
09 575 6995

Hours:

  • Mon – Sun 7am – 11pm
  • Facilities/Features:
    • Scenic View
  • Payment Types: EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX
  • Price Range: Moderate, $15 - $25
  • Dress Code: Casual
  • Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails
  • BYO/Corkage: No BYO
  • Parking: Free Off-Street
  • Good For Groups: No
  • Good For Children: No
  • Takeaways: Yes
  • Takes Reservations: No
  • Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
  • Outdoor Seating: No
  • Meals: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner

The St Heliers Bay Cafe is the new hot spot in the Village with a beautiful fit-out, ocean outlook and ingenious menu of delicious flavour combinations dreamt up by chef Mark Sycamore (ex-Blanket Bay).
Huge Spanish cane lampshades, an eye-catching deep marine hued masonry wall and scattered plush cushions complete this chic venue that cleverly morphs from casual cafe by day to stylish bistro by night, bringing a whole new concept in dining to the bay.

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30 Reviews for St Heliers Cafe & Bistro

16th June 2014
3 star rating
The most variable restaurant I’ve ever visited. From the time it first opened my wife and I have been regulars, averaging around 2 visits a month. Even so, no one ever recognises us and welcomes us back, even after spending over $700 on a lunch there once, then dining there the very next day.
However I can say that the food is fairly consistent and the house wines always good. Service can vary but mostly it’s very good.
A little crowded and noisy at times.
Worth considering though.

Visited May 2014

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4th May 2014
3 star rating
I agree with other people that there seems to be ongoing issues here in relation to the balance between style and substance. Well-presented wait staff are never likely to be the deciding factor in the overall experience. I went for lunch this week with a friend and was more than happy to pay decent money for a good quality experience. Sadly, the meals were disappointing. I gave half my lamb – slow cooked and tasty but insufficient moistness in the pumpkin purée and chickpeas made it too dry a combination to really enjoy) – to my friend who had chosen the beetroot and feta salad. This tasted good at first, but at $22, it was largely just beet root, with a few meagre crumbs of feta. Underwhelming, to say the least. The service was attentive, but still a few unnecessary slip ups. Stylish for sure, but only average food wise.

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7th February 2014
5 star rating
Its always good to hear from locals when reviewing restaurants and locals we are. We love this place and frequent it from dawn (after morning run or swim) to dusk (catching up with friends, family, work colleagues). We love the staff, the coffee the sparkling water, bar selection and menu. Its great bistro food, always fresh and well presented without being fussy. Favourites include the lamb, pine nut and tomato pizzetta as a starter and the lamb shoulder with labneh sultanas and lentils as a main. Finishing dinner with affogato is never a bad move. If there is a wait for dinner, enjoy a craft beer or prosecco at the in-house bar and enjoy the magnificent view and ambience, or as an alternative, take your lobster buzzer and wait at another bar or on the beach until you are buzzed for your table. This place outshines anything else the bay has to offer.

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3rd February 2014
5 star rating
Great food and friendly attentive service.. Love your entrees, the breads were very tasty and a real surprise. First time visit to this lovely little Cafe and it certainly won’t be the last. The lamb shoulder was excellent, the best I’ve experienced in a long time.. Cooked to juicy perfection and topped off with a harmonic blend of fresh and subtle flavours.. Another highlight for me was the Hallertau Pale Ale Number 2 beer.. wow.. that is awesome.. I’m planning to visit the brewery in the near future.. Thanks guys, great job, impressed.

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1st February 2014
2 star rating
We have enjoyed the Bistro since it opened as well as Cafe Kohi and the cafe in Takapuna, staff and food 1st class. However, last night we went down for supper and were greeted by a very pleasant young man who told us there was a wait. He thought about 30 minutes so we decided to stay, he was true to his word and it was just under the time he had said when we sat down. We ordered and received our starter very promptly but then had to wait an hour and still no sign of our mains. We told our waitress who apologised profusely but still no mains course. We then noticed people around us who had not been there long getting their meals and told another member of staff. Eventually a female who appeared to be management and rather unpleasant brought our meals and made a sarcastic comment of “have you been waiting”!!!!! There was no attempt of an apology from her and her attitude suggested she couldn’t care less.
On leaving my husband told the young gentleman who was extremely apologetic and said he would report the incident. Will we be back, not sure, as the menu is very limited and seldom changed plus the attitude of one member of staff is appalling, for one who seems to be in a managerial position.

Visited January 2014

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Lee J.

2

27th January 2014
2 star rating
After having enjoyed excellent meals in the past, we were very disappointed with our selections from the recently revised menu. The romano burger was underwhelming, and the accompanying small portion of chips was almost inedible due to the fact that an excessive amount of salt had been added prior to serving. Hopefully a blip in the otherwise high standard that we have experienced previously.

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Sue

3

22nd January 2014
3 star rating
A friend and I eat here for lunch recently. I have been to the other cafes in this chain before and always have been impressed by the staff and the individual attention and friendliness that is given. But a packed out restaurant does not mean that the food is fabulous. Expectations are very high now for restaurants to give us something a little different with the wow factor, because we are now cooking very nice food for ourselves at home in the style and quality of recipes from Jamie, Libby Weaver and Nadia Lim. It is so easy to be disappointed now when eating out.
Why are places so stingy with vegetables? I want to see and taste zingy crunchy vegetables, mixed with fresh herbs and made in house dressings; colour, texture, crunch and innovation (how about spiraled carrots).
The fresh squeezed juice was served in a cold glass but the juice was warmish having just come out of the juicer. A bit of ice would have helped. The chicken liver pizette was different but the livers were dry and there was just a sprinkling of micro-greens on top. At least they weren’t those ghastly stringy pea-shoot things that get stuck in your teeth and throat that I’ve had at Ortolana.
The chips and agria potatoes were good and generous.
I feel this is a place for people to be seen with the food not so important.

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12th January 2014
1 star rating
Meet and Greet, sparkling water – Great!
BUT the food far below par!
The smallest menu in town.
Fish and Chips, Burger and Chips, Pork dish…..
I selected the pork dish.
What a disappointment!!!! Dry as…. Tasted like cardboard!
My wife had the Burger.
Just another disappointment. No lettuce, no tomato, no nothing but yesterdays bun.
We are local, but we will never be back.
(And of course will tell our friends about this bad experience)
What a disappointing evening.
Desert was pony camp food.

BUT the service was great!

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5th January 2014
4 star rating
Excellent spot for waterside dining, either a lighter fare to a great meal….From the table service with complimentary sparkling water to marvelous fish dishes with lovely veggie presentations, this is a treasure on Mission Bay where the real estate values can overshadow the quality of restaurant dining…Definitely will be a regular there.

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lara w.

38

30th December 2013
3 star rating
Popped in on the weekend for a coffee and brioche to take away. Service at the counter was lovely and friendly. A bit of a wait for coffee, which was fine given how crazy busy the cafe was. Just a shame the coffee I was handed was luke warm and the brioche i asked to be heated was cold. I could have complained and asked for another coffee and for the brioche to be heated, however the place was so busy, and I didn’t have time to wait around for another hot coffee to be made. A cafe that can’t get the basics right really needs to lift its game given the competition in the area. I may give it another shot if I’m in St Heliers again and won’t write this place off just yet, but disappointing visit thus far.

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18th December 2013
5 star rating
Went to St Heliers Cafe and Bistro for dinner tonight. Fantastic food and wine and a very good waiter. The fish of the day was Blue Nose which was cooked to perfection and we also had the lamb which was easy to pull apart and cooked and presented beautifully. The desert menu is highly recommended. A great night out and very reasonably priced. Highly recommended.

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6th November 2013
4 star rating
My wife, son and I went there today for lunch. We got there early so no wait but it quickly filled up. The food was very tasty – My wife and I had the market fish which was pan fried Hapuka with the skin on, served on Pearl Barley. The fish was delicious and had a very nice green pea reduction with incorporated flavours of mint and lemon, that was drizzled around the outside of the plate. It seemed to complement the fish very well. My son had the Fish and Chips which he enjoyed. We also ordered a side of the Agria fries which were very good. Once it got busy though the service did slow down a fair bit. We all had a Pear and Hazelnut pie with Mascapone for dessert. Overall we were very happy with the food but would recommend you get here early. We intend to return to try some of the other offerings on the menu.

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Peet

1

27th October 2013
1 star rating
Me and my family decided to check this place after reading the review in metro. We drove down from shore, but the host was very rude. She seemed to be not wanting us their. We left without eating…..I won’t recommend St Heliers Cafe to anyone.

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Fiona

1

6th October 2013
3 star rating
Friendly staff, excellent service . Food was average, lacked seasoning ( we nearly used the whole dish of salt ) .

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16th December 2013
1 star rating
Changed our mind about this place. Duty manager/maitre d not professional with dealing, kept telling us it is ok to eat pink chicken and that’s the way it is cooked and the meat itself is naturally pink even after cooking. Sadly the other dish – hamburger is lacking in seasoning and tasted bland. We were blamed for making one of the wait staff upset with our initial complain hence I deemed this very unprofessional and uncalled for. Again, eateries should always bare in mind that some of your customers are in the hospitality industry themselves and would have firsthand knowledge on appropriate and professional complains dealing.

Visited November 2013

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Adam H.

17

3rd December 2013
5 star rating
It’s not the place for a big group – Bistro means SMALL people , wikipedia below:

“bistro /ˈbiːstroʊ/, sometimes spelled bistrot, is, in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting.”

Bugs me when people say “we went there and they couldn’t take 8 of us for an hour…” anyways, rant over, some people are idiots and this place rocks !

NOVEMBER UPDATE: Still my favourite place, have tried most of the menu but never ordered the Romano burger until lat week. Seemed a shame to order a burger when the rest i=of the menu is so much more interesting , but have to say this was a fantastic burger. Cooked MEDIUM RARE which I love and nobody in NZ seems to do. It is beef Rib meat which they grind themselves , sear it on the hot plate and then finish it off in the blistering hot pizza oven. That gives you a nice crust on the pattie and the middle is tender and pink but also hot all the way thru. Some places try offering medium burgers by just cooking the pattie less (ahem, Citizen Park) but this just makes the outside hot and middle raw and cold. Hot plate, then oven is the way to go – the bun is also their own concoction , just fantastic – it $24 , but you can get it takeaway with their amazing fries for $16!

The main thing I like about it, (along with Ortolana) – it’s always open. No matter when you are hungry, you can go there. Must have been about 20 times by now, the Hearth Breads with Anchovies, the Crab Toasties , Roast Chook sandwiches to go are a fave. Gelato in the summer of course as well. Have a look at the menu, it speaks for itself – in fact I am off there right now. Bye.

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Kate

2

6th August 2013
2 star rating
Terrible service!!!
We were at the Bistro on Sunday afternoon with a group of 8 and were given the full menu while waiting for our table. We all agreed the menu looked good so decided to eat there.
When we were seated we were given a smaller snack menu and were informed that is all they have at that time. We questioned the waitress about this menu and the limited availability of items on it. She was unbelievably rude to us and spoke to us like we were idiots. We couldn’t believe how blatantly rude she was when we only asking reasonable questions about what was available and at what time! We were shocked and embarrassed and ruined the experience.
I am really disappointed as I used to like this place.

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14th July 2013
5 star rating
My self and 3 friends went there for brunch. Great place – very busy but the staff were so onto it. The food was fab and the portions generous. The waiter was very attentive and entertaining. We will be back !

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29th June 2013
3 star rating
I am a local and have been a fan of St Heliers Bistro from the beginning. …However – my last visit in early June was disappointing.
The eggs benedict was still perfectly flavoured and balanced but half the size of previous visits.
Obvious cost cutting and defensive waiting staff is hopefully a one off.
The view,the atmosphere,the interiors and excellent Maitre D’s still top class. The kitchen needs to pull its socks up to match.

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23rd June 2013
3 star rating
I know this place is busy, but having to wait outside in the cold and rain mid June is pushing it a little. It would be nice to to be able to book a table if you have 4 or more so that you are not ‘literally’ left standing out in the cold with friends and family.

The smoked fish was on the bland side and the pulled pork burger is missing a ‘wow’ factor. However, mostly an enjoyable meal with great service which was nice and prompt.

A booking system for group diners would allow for a more pleasant experience – at least for busy times or winter.

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11th June 2013
4 star rating
St Heliers Cafe & Bistro has become a new regular of mine. From the excellent food, to stunning views and great staff, if you are in St Heliers for a meal, look no further. For brunch I would highly recommend their Fried agria & caramelised onion hash with rocket & a poached egg. Simply delish!

Visited May 2013

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7th June 2013
3 star rating
We were looking forward to visiting but maybe we both picked the wrong meals and had too higher expectations. The pulled pork burger was okay, a bit dry and tasteless. The chips were great but was expecting the tomato sauce to be made in house. It seemed to taste like Heinz.
We also didn’t like the fact you were just given fizzy water…
Great view and very proactive service but it almost seemed fake.
Not sure if we will be back…

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Rae F.

1

4th June 2013
3 star rating
Great location. Great views. Great staff. Been there a few times now. The staff are always fabulous – well informed, friendly and helpful.
For our last visit, over the weekend, we waited nearly an hour for a table. We sat outside in the sheltered courtyard under gas heaters – this we were happy to do given the staff are so nice and the food to date had been pretty good.
So we were finally seated when they were getting near to the end of their service – the tables around us were finishing up their meals. The entree was fabulous – but our two mains were disappointing. I had the slow cooked lamb – it was raw – not rare, RAW. There was no evidence of cooking at all save a quick seal around the edges. Slow cooked should imply cooked, succulent, tender, melt-in-your-mouth etc – it was none of these. It was raw, grisly, and cold. My partner ordered the roast pork that was advertised with a number of things including crackling. There was no crackling. The pork was delicious – but no crackling :-(
The only conclusion I can come to is if you arrive or are seated near the end of their service you are likely to get food cooked or prepared hurriedly – and you are likely to be disappointed. Unfortunately, they do not have a booking system in place, so if you want to get a table and GOOD food that is actually cooked, go early to improve your chances.

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Karl

2

26th May 2013
2 star rating
The location is really good an up until now we were regular guests. The food seems to be getting more average and no longer up to standard. We had a “slow” cooked lamb which was still uncooked and fatty and a very cheap cut.

Other meal qualities and quantities very too much.

Wine is being served not as cold as it should be and it looks like we are getting the same excuses as other guest,e.g “the wine has just arrived an is not chilled yet”.

One other point is that whenever we visit we get either rushed to order or rushed to finish to make room for the next wave of visitors. The tables are too small to eat comfortably.

Not really acceptable. Will not go back in a hurry.

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24th May 2013
5 star rating
My friend recommended this place and my sister and I wanted to wanted to take our mother out for a special belated mothers day lunch. We were not disappointed at all, the service was excellent and my sister commented “slick, they just have it so sorted” while it was busy we didn’t feel rushed, or stressed. I was a bit concernd bringing in my 4 year old boy but they made him feel just as welcome as us, offered a childrens menu immediately and asked if he wanted smaller cutlery. The waiter even took him to the freezer to see what flavour gelato he wanted. Our meals were all wonderful, eggs benedict, pulled pork burger, salmon salad (lovely to see lots of salmon) and a fish and chips meal for my son.

We will definitely return, and I will look forward to working my way though the menu.

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28th April 2013
5 star rating
Had lunch , table for 2. Good feel in the restaurant, busy, but not overwhelming. A bit of staff overkill, but better that than the contrary. Waiter was good, with a sense of humor!
Ordered the tomato salad, and livers with bacon. Livers were cooked to perfection!
I liked the sparkling water – nice change from the usual plain water. A nice point of difference with other places. Very European idea.
Price is fair for quality and portion size.
They serve Allpress coffee, which is always a bonus.
Definitely recommend this place. Chef Marc has done a great job with this place.

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21st April 2013
5 star rating
Awesome food! Great service! Great coffee!

Always greeted nicely with an offer to sit down, a glass of sparkling water, and the paper! The owners of this establishment have just plainly got everything right!!

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10th March 2013
5 star rating
We have been regular diners at this lovely restaurant since it opened. We couldn’t fault it on the first night and haven’t on subsequent visits (generally one night a week). The menu is simple and the food beautifully executed, in fact we haven’t ordered one thing we haven’t enjoyed. Also congratulations to the owners as they have kept their prices where they are affordable to everyone old and young. Great friendly staff, superb views, what more can I say!

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R W.

2

26th February 2013
2 star rating
We visited this cafe on the spur of the moment, for a drink, hearth bread and chips. It was so enjoyable we returned with others the following weekend. Our visit was a roller coaster of good and bad. Waiting staff were nice, service good, BUT the Roasted Beet salad used tinned beetroot which was totally unacceptable, our bottle of pinot gris arrived warm (after complaining, we were told the wine order only arrived an hour earlier so wasn’t chilled; funnily enough, two days later a friend got told exactly the same thing when her wine was warm! Not good), other meals were average, but the final straw was, the second we finished our coffees were asked to vacate the table as a group had been waiting for a table for 30 minutes. Totally unacceptable and something that ruined what had been a pleasant but disappointing lunch. We are reluctant to return.

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10th January 2013
5 star rating
We had lunch here a few weeks ago and it was outstanding. All of the staff there were attentive, friendly and the service was fast! We took our 5 week old baby (first lunch out!), so we didn’t want to have to wait too long. Even though the restaurant was heaving, our meals came very quickly. There were other kids and babies there, a mixed clientele of all types and the atmosphere was welcoming, buzzing and friendly, as well as professional. The menu and food is divine, we were very impressed. All in all, the food, service, decor and location are all fantastic. We’re really excited to have a really quality cafe & restaurant in the area, with top notch food & service to match!

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