Reviews for The Apothecary
by Rice & Kai
26 days ago
We went along to check out the markets in Howick village on Saturday morning. It wasn't a particularly nice day so we decided to go to one of the cafes for brunch.
We were pleasantly surprised by the options - a lot of the cafes seemed to be popular and we finally decided to try out The Apothecary after having a quick look at the menu outside.
I ordered the brioche french toast with banana and bacon. This was delicious! The banana had been mashed and sandwiched between two thick slices of brioche before being fried. The brioche was flaky and crispy. I also really enjoyed the vanilla porter mascarpone on the side which made the dish even more decadant and it was generously flecked with vanilla seeds.
My husband ordered the fry up breakfast, which was better than your average fry up. It came with eggs, bacon, potatoes, sausage, ciabatta, mushrooms, tomatoes and black pudding (which was a bit different - we both quite liked it). The fried potatoes on the dish were really nice - crispy and salty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.
We didn't order any drinks so can't comment on what the beverages are like. There were a lot of people working and most of the staff were friendly (there were a few who seemed a bit moody). The decor is rustic - lots of antiques, and plenty of labelled jars lining the walls to complement the theme.
We enjoyed our meals a lot and would definitely come back if we're ever in the area again. The fact that it was so busy on a Saturday morning is a testament to the quality of the food.
by Dianne Patterson
28 days ago
A couple of months ago I had had a wonderful coffee and loved the original decor of this place. My friend read a good review and, being a foodie, was interested. We also wanted a venue in Howick to meet up at. Another friend who frequents the place raved about the portabello mushroom risotto. Apparently there has been a change of staff and on day 3 chaos reigned. We were greeted very pleasantly by R who did his best. We were given menus when M asked for them, and water when D requested. We ordered wine and starters of scallops. After a half hour of conversation we had to ask about the wine, We were told that the bar was busy. R bought the red wine and some minutes later the white followed for the other part of the group. WE were waiting for the starters. A long time passed and then my main meal arrived. We then decided to cancel the starters as they were to be enjoyed with the wine,,,,sorry guys but i can buy more delicious duck and rice at a fast food for well under $15, and the risotto was really heavily salted - I ate it because by now I was really hungry and had given up on the whole experience anyway...Our friend was upset as he asked for medium rare steak and it came med-well done - he did send it back. so we ate at different times. The other two ordered completely different meals - the mussels came in a dump of sauce that was okay, possibly made from canned tomatoes.The lamb shank was tasteless in itself but smothered in the SAME tomato sauce! And I am sorry but $8,50 for a side salad that was literally a pile of mesclan leaves shaken from a supermarket bag with a drizzle of balsamic( no onion rings, no tomato, nothing else) - where was the "salad" part? We felt sorely cheated. We wish the restaurant luck with training staff to attend to guests on arrival, to be timely.. and we accept the sincere apologies we received on a couple of the points. We hope you all have a better experience,In my opinion it is hugely overpriced for what you get.
by Extra Boon
28 days ago
The moment I stepped into the cafe I felt like I was conveyed into a different realm. It was filled with ornaments, figures, animal compositions which made the interior and theme of the cafe rather interesting. I love cafes that are interactive when they incorporate their products into the theme. In Apothecary they were selling creams in old fashioned packaging which was placed next to the ornamental aged medicines. Caught my eye and got me going SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
Although none of this interior was reflected on the outside of the cafe, I felt that it was such a wasted effort to have created such an incredible ambiance inside and not have it carried through to the outside.
The outside scene seemed to look neglected. The seating was squashy and tables were wobbly as it was on a slope and my food dish was sliding away at most times.
We ordered the mushroom Benedict and the Seared tuna salad. Both generous portions. The mushroom Benedict was nearly flawless but the Ciabatta bread was too salty. The seared tuna was questionable as it didn't look seared enough.
I don’t have much to say about the service as it was very casual and straight to the point. It wasn't a to-the-moon-and-back type of service which is dandy by me as I didn't experience any problems. Good on the lad that helped us with the photos. I felt like a tourist inside that cafe.
Overall it was a good experience going to The Apothecary cafe. It definitely stands out of the crowd which I find is something truly important. The cafe could improve on their menu selection as it was simple Jane, I expected abit more in range. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful cafe with great setting, decent food and coffee. I would return again and I recommend visiting. Make sure to bring your cameras as there’s many bewildering things to catch your eye left, right, front and center.
one month ago
Best fries in Howick! Nice, friendly staff. The place is clean but can feel a little cluttered when full (and it is full most of the time because it is so popular). Nice job guys!
by Lois Kerr
2 months ago
My first review of this cafe was scathing but having given it another try I was very pleasantly surprised. Mushrooms were to die for. Staff very pleasant & welcoming. Good effort.
by Briana W
3 months ago
Excellent! Not very many cafes in Howick that are spacious and as popular. Routine to get a coffee in the morning, really great coffee and staff are always hold friendly conversation. Not once have I been here with uninviting staff. Obviously popular as it is always busy. Wednesday (night) Pizza Deal, with house wine/beer and Monterey movie tickets is such good value. Pizzas are to die for. Also had a private function here, wonderful location and feedback from others attending was of the highest standard. Always difficulty choosing from the tempting menu, never been given one reason to complain. Highly recommend for any occasion!
by Mike Lamacraft
3 months ago
A group of six of us went last weekend. Not our first visit as the food is always fantastic.Two duck dishes, one lamb, two fish and my pizza. We all thought the meals were amazing. We will continue to go back.
by Simone Young
4 months ago
Disappointing. My fish was over cooked and risotto dry. Pizza garlic bread more of a thin crisp bread. A shame as previous meal there very good.
by Jane Burgess
5 months ago
I go here a lot, it has very good quality food and coffee. Unfortunately, just lately the service has been anything but helpful. Mothers Day was a disaster of a breakfast for my friend and I. Our coffees came, spilled in the saucers, my meal arrived, then 15 minutes later we enquired about my friends breakfast, then after 35 mins, decided to ask again, finally 45 minutes later her breakfast arrived, it was wrong! There wasn't any apology, at the very least I would have offered another cup if coffee on the house..and then this Sunday my husbands breakfast arrived without a fundamental portion of house beans, and half a slice of black pudding? When I asked for some beans, no one said sorry, the chef through a paddy in the kitchen, it seems to me that some staff training required. It's a great cafe, don't lose the plot, please.
by Mike Ashby
5 months ago
Great dinner on a Saturday night. The meals are generally unpretentious but very flavourful. I had a steak which just had a knob of garlic butter on it, but it was delicious to the last mouthful. we ordered a raaddachio salad as a shared side, and my wife had duck leg with lentils. Perhaps a few too many lentils, but that is a small grizzle. The fries were good, the wine list adequate and the service was very good considering there were only 2 on tables and a big group. Goes to show what can be achieved with 2 efficient, intelligent and friendly staff, overseen by a watchful owner.
Will happily go again.
by Bronwyn Clarke
7 months ago
Great place. Food was very good, fast service, wait staff attentive and fun. Physical atmosphere curious, which makes it more interesting than many places. Will be a regular for us!
by Barclay Brosnahan
8 months ago
Had a lovely meal, service was excellent despite there only being two waiting staff on (who knew there menus well, they were very polite and helpful)plus there was nearly full restaurant.
Menu wasn't huge though covered all meats and vegetarian options. Will definitely return
by Rob Tuckey
8 months ago
We have been here three times and it is always less than ordinary. The most recent time Sunday around 1:30 there was minimal choice left on the menu. The staff were very unhelpful and disinterested in their work. All in all very disappointing !
by Kim M
8 months ago
I visited Howick last year and came across this lovely cafe. The coffee is amazing and also the food. The meals are very efficient too. I love the atmosphere and the decorations throughout. You can see there is a bit of history displayed around the building and area of what it used to be. I love it. I have been back here twice now since my first visit. Highly recommended :-)
by Jason Gibbens
Oct 31, 2013
I decided to take my fiancé out last night to your bar followed by a movie so we took the Wednesday Pizza, Beer and Movie Ticket deal which was great value! The food was superb, service very friendly and prompt. My Fiancé wasn't feeling a beer so you happily swapped it out for a house Pinot Noir which was greatly appreciated. I think we will make this a regular thing and look forward to the next one. Cheers.
by Ian Scott
Oct 03, 2013
Decided to give it ago for the 3rd time. Previous times OK. Food good but service not so friendly.
This time. The barrister & serving person so busy having their own conversation while we stood there waiting to be served, we walked out, never to return.
Plenty more cafes in Howick with better & more friendly service.
by Peter Ranson
Sep 26, 2013
Just had lunch at this local Howick eatery and felt compelled to write a review because of the excellent meal and fantastic ambiance. This place is a real gem and an absolute credit to the owner and the staff. I struggled to choose from the specials because everything was so tempting but choose I did and what I had did not disappoint. This is not a run of the mill, bland and generic cafe, this is a establishment of character, warmth and interest. Love it.
by Raynor Capper
Sep 05, 2013
Such a good review in Canvas merited trying Apothecary out first-hand. Ordered two fish pies, only to find they were stuffed with mussels - seafood, not fish. Serious stuff, one of us doesn't eat mussels, the other is allergic! Replaced one with mushroom papardelle, sounded delicious, but was a long wait, lukewarm and tasting of oil, few mushrooms. Indigestion. The other replacement was even longer coming, a quiche that was forgotten and had to be asked for twice. This was tasteless and over microwaved. The other two in our party ordered toasted sandwich on sourdough. 'Doorstops' was how they were described, bread so hard it couldn't be eaten. The bowl of handcut chips was fine. Meals were too expensive to be so bad. Staff didn't seem to want to know. How did they get that high review? Cooking good food is not that hard.
by Brenda Claridge
Sep 02, 2013
The layout is much improved from the old antique shop days. However, we were disappointed on various counts.
None of the cabinet or counter items were priced, neither was the coffee (isn't this a legal requirement?). At least one cabinet item was not labelled at all.
I had a frittata with very little flavour other than that added by the chutney. My friend was equally unenthusiastic about her savoury muffins.
We both found our long blacks quite bitter.
The service was prompt and pleasant.
by Wendy Hammonds
Aug 24, 2013
I have had lunch and breakfast here always a great menu, service and atmosphere. Recently held my husbands birthday here and it was exceptional!!!! Easy to work with, no stress at all. The night was fabulous and surpassed my expectations. The food was abundant, delicious and presented beautifully. The staff were awesome and gauged the crowd really well. Attendees were from 17-69 years and all loved it. Cant recommend highly enough!!
Aug 21, 2013
Lunch here is my favourite. A smallish menu but excellent food and fab wine list. Love the atmosphere created by people buzz but more imptly, the antiques. Very attentive staff. Howick is lucky to have some many great dining options.
Aug 13, 2013
I came here on Sunday it was extremely busy. We ordered got our coffee's & tea promptly then not long after our breakfast arrived which was great. There was a lot of staff on, there was 2 people taking orders and one cashier, there was always a staff member out clearing tables. One staff member delivered my sisters tea and dropped it all over the table with no apology we had to ask her for something to clean it up with, this young lady seemed unhappy, however I think the manager picked up on this as later I noticed her on dishes duties. I love the decor and the music in the back ground. However there is a coffee menu on the wall but no food menu up, I was looking around for one couldn't find one, when we finally got to the cashier I noticed them next to the till (there was a long line), these menu's need to be in a more accessible place as you have to walk in front of people that are before you to get them. I would have given "The Apothecary" 5 stars if they had table service and menu's either on the wall or tables and if it wasn't for the attitude of one staff member. This place is busy and has a lot of take away coffee and I feel if table service is offered and menu's on the table's the till would not be so congested.
Aug 05, 2013
After a very long drive to Auckland to see my mother, I thought it would be nice for us to spend the time together having a nice meal so after reading the great review this café got in the Herald we decided to go to The Apothecary. Big mistake.
We ordered our meals and coffees and were told it would take 15 minutes which we accepted as we had an hour available so no problems. We sat and waited, and waited and waited. After 20 minutes our coffees arrived (without saucers or teaspoons) but still no food. As we continued to wait we heard the family next to us ask for a refund as they were fed up of waiting. We waited another 35 minutes before giving up and also asking for a refund. No apology was given and I would have thought they would have refunded us for the cold coffees along with the missing meals to apologise for the inconvenience but apparently not. We left hungry and furious. My day in Auckland with my mother was absolutely ruined.
I would not recommend anyone waste their time or money here.
by Kylie Dreaver
Jul 16, 2013
Great place for a drink or meal way out in the suburb of Howick. It's a treat and surpassed my expectation. There was more I wish I had room to try from the menu, but imagine I will visit again soon.
My friend drives the 30mins to go here as she loves it so much
Jun 30, 2013
Decided to give our American visitors 'The Apothecary' experience today - something that we usually really enjoy ourselves.. however this Sunday lunch experience was very disappointing and we were embarrassed to have 'talked it up' so much to our guests. Coffee's came fairly quickly, however we were left waiting 40 minutes for our order of scrambled eggs and soup...and when it finally arrived - the eggs looked as though they had been sitting under the heat lamp all day! We would've sent the two lots of eggs back if not needing to get to the ferry...
by Wayne Croad
Mar 18, 2013
As a pre movie treat we ate dinner last night at what must be the best eatery in Howick.....maybe Auckland for that matter. The new extension to the Apothecary is all class, we orded 2 dozen bluff oysters and had a $15 pork dish special for St Patricks day that simply melted in our mouths. The service was top class, not over bearing.... just right! The night went off with a bang.... maybe it was the bluff oysters ?
Anyway as a regular during the day at the main cafe the extended resturant/ bar did not disapoint and overall another example of Howick stepping up to the plate as a great destination for a great night out. Well done Apothecary we are regular movie buffs and plan plenty of future visits to your fine establishment. Keep up the good work !
by Adam Norton-Taylor
Mar 16, 2013
Have got to say that I was shocked that I paid $8.00 for what must have been a two inch chicken wrap!!! There was no gold in it. Won't be back that's daylight robbery.
The coffee was nice but there is heaps of good coffee in Howick.
Oct 03, 2012
Went for brunch, great service and our coffee and meals came out fast. Although I wasn't happy with eggs Benedict I ordered, thought it was overpriced for what I got and the toast was so hard I could hardly cut it, let alone eat it!
Disappointing first visit as I had heard good things. Would go back but won't be eating the eggs Benedict!!
Sep 27, 2012
I always enjoy eating here, have had outstanding food on valentines day and the titanic dinner. A perfect place to sit and have lunch or coffee with a friend. There is always a fantastic selection of hot and cold salads to choose from the cabinet, along with the delicious baps and an array of sweet delights, which are ever changing so you never get bored of the same thing. It has a wonderful atmosphere on a late Friday afternoon for a end of week wine!
by Food Maniac
Sep 27, 2012
I loved the mushroom & blue-cheese frittata - the mushrooms were generous and succulent, and the flavour excellent. Accompanied by a green side-salad of rocket. I chose from the varied range of tasty-looking cabinet options.
I've not seen such a unique fit-out as this anywhere: resplendent with antiquey nick-knacks, the place is charming, and somehow remains uncluttered. The bird-cages and boats, the pictures and oddities and all sorts of interesting things to look at.
An excellent coffee, and a great vibe.
by Mel Nicholls
Sep 08, 2012
We are frequent visitors to the Apothecary. We just love it. There is only one thing that lets it down and both my partner and I have commented on it...and that's the slapdash presentation of the wait staff themselves! Saggy baggy t-shirts displaying bra straps, shorty denim shorts over black tights - bleeeugh!!!! (yes I KNOW it is the fashion and some chaps like this look). HOWEVER. The owners have obviously spent a lot of time and money sourcing items to create the cafe's ambience (i.e. the complete fitout from a Parisian apothecary). To pull that whole Parisian, classy thing off would be for their staff dress to appropriately in either black or white waiter shirts, black ties and smart aprons - because you wouldn't see a bra strap or bum cheek on a waitress in a cafe in Paris unless you took a wrong turn and ended up in the Moulin Rouge. And the other thing I'd like to see is the Apothecary open more nights for a drink. I am sure they have this in mind, and I can't wait as summer's on its way and this is a great setting to watch the world go by.
by Paul Burridge
Sep 07, 2012
As a regular to this establishment, both in eating and drinking it is without doubt unique, from the Titanic Night to a Friday evening relaxing drink it never fails to impress, a great place to socialise.
They sell a beer in a large bottle not sure of the name but it is about 8%, more than 2 and you may be carried out, they also sell Cleveden Hills Syrah.
Well done to Ted and Jill for bringing it off, as a resident of Howick for 28 years it was needed.
by Sandy Reid
Aug 02, 2012
Appeared to be a popular choice with the locals but sadly we were less than impressed with the lunch fare we ordered from their blackboard. The food came out barely lukewarm, very dry and lacking any type of dressing on the salad nor relish or sauce one would usually expect. When we asked for some the waitress quickly brought some to the table and expressed regret that there was none present.
The coffee was excellent but the food certainly let them down.
A word of warning, beware of the rear door, it's a wind tunnel and could certainly cause an accident with the elderly - and it wasn't even windy.
by Wendy Stewart
Jul 03, 2012
Howick has been craving a cool spot like this. We regularly visit here for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a relaxing drink. The food is creative and always delicious. Stunning decor, a clever mix of Antiques, industrial & vintage. The staff are always friendly and the service is great. I love having such a great place so close to home. This place is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy!
by Gary C
Jun 01, 2012
This is a very frustrating place to eat.
The food is magnificent, creative, original and very very tasty. The décor plunges you back into a positively twee era; a fine blend of artistic cool and sophistication. The problem is the service (on more than one occasion). This aspect has left me vexed and seething. Initially, it’s very good; they take your order promptly and serve your coffee sharpish. The problem lies with the bumbling waiting staff. Last Saturday my eggs benedict turned up like the ‘Guns of the Navaho’. They were slick and stylish and had hollandaise sheen to die for. The problem though, and herein lies the rub, was that my partner’s salmon affair was a no show. A no show. Humpf! After 20 odd minutes I turned around to the lad and explained my exasperation. He just replied: “It’s not my fault”. Now, call me old fashioned, but that response is a completely unacceptable stance from a food place. That chap, at that time, was the ‘face of the place’ in that moment, and he was in the wrong. They were in the wrong! Bad form!
Now, I’ve been there with my kids also. And they do cater for the wee nippers with a plethora of choices on the kids menu.. But again, they simply forgot the order. It’s unacceptable behaviour from a restaurant.
This place has got the food and décor right. They don’t, however, have a clue about service, and general waiting etiquette.
Sort it out!
by Kathryn Price
Apr 16, 2012
Wow! Great decor and a lively fun atmosphere. And... the food was just as good with superb flavours. The espresso was excellent, the staff friendly and the service great. We will be back for sure!
Apr 15, 2012
It really doesn't get any better than this! We were lucky enough to secure boarding passes for The Apothecary's Titanic centenary dinner on April 14th. The atmosphere created by Ted, Jill and his dedicated crew was just superb. The menu for the night was an interpretation of the original last dinner on the Titanic. Every course was truly excellent. The evening began with canapes and champagne, followed by a sumptuous seafood buffet, meats, vegetables and finishing with chocolate painted eclairs, French vanilla ice cream and champagne jelly with peaches. Food, presentation and service were stunning - it really was a night to remember!
by John Ashley
Mar 23, 2012
Dropped in to the Apothecary for a couple of quiet beers last night on the way to a different venue... and then never left.
The atmosphere was really good for a late evening, chilled-out drink in Howick. Very unique setting, surrounded by antiques and curios.
Tried the Organic Pilsener from Dunedin (name escapes me) and it was excellent.
Shared a plate of the sticky ginger ribs. They were delicious!
Good, friendly service. Will definitely be back -- maybe fairly regularly!
by Jason Gibbens
Mar 21, 2012
I am a big coffee lover and very fussy when it comes to a tulip flat white. These guys nail it 9 times out of 10. The food is perfect and I struggle to venture from their eggs benny as this is my favourite breakfast when dinning out. However, when I do try other areas of their menu and cabinet food I am never disappointed. The chef is great, the people are great, the vibe is perfect and the staff are all more than happy to ask you how your days going! Keep it up and see you tomorrow for a flat white guys!
Mar 18, 2012
What a fantastic dining experience! A wide variety of meals and sides means that there is something for everyone. The salad platter was served in a very innovative way which just added to the unique feeling of the place. Full of quirky antiques the cafe is buzzing with life. A great selection of wine and ales which ensure a great evening also. Staff are very polite and friendly overall 5/5 and would recommend to anyone.
by Tracey Harris-Brunt
Feb 29, 2012
New chef is great love all the lentil and raw energy salad options, the only negative is why can't any cafes make a decent gingerbread loaf, it looked the part but when I tasted it was sickly sweet, had strong overtone of almond essense and had virtually no ginger taste - kinda tasted like a sickly sweet mild date loaf would taste (rather disappointing)! If you are going to add icing to the top you better make sure it has plenty if zing from real ginger and maybe add some salt to balance out all the sweetness from the golden syrup!
Feb 23, 2012
Recently had a great night here at a 30th birthday party. Good selection of wines and the lamb was amazing. The atmosphere is unique and the staff are very friendly. During the day the cafe food and coffee is easily the best in howick. The new chef has added a new dimension to the cafe. Recommend to all.
by Caitlyn Harvey
Feb 22, 2012
This cafe is just what Howick needed! The food was fantastic and the staff were very friendly, on top of that, the atmosphere is great and your surrounded by gorgeous Antique pieces. Has an awesome vibe and a delicious menu to choose from. Definitely recommend this place, and will be a regular spot for me.
by Edwin Waters
Feb 22, 2012
Briefly: the best eatery we have tried in east Auckland, also helps that we were able to have a glass of wine with lunch. The fit out of antiques (priced for sale) is 2nd to none and is our first choice to take overseas guests to. Lastly we went to the Valentines degustation night which was fully matched with French and NZ wines for $90 per head (6 glasses of wine and 6 meals) outstanding! We have booked for the next one.
by Leigh Roy
Dec 21, 2011
Have waited a long time for a cafe to come Howick that has that certain buzz, plays groovy music, offers interesting food and of course the best coffee. Most importantly has great staff who make you feel welcome and hands on owners who live it and breath it. Well done team.
by Barbara McCamish
Dec 20, 2011
No generic food here, a mouth watering choice from a meal with wine or a divine cake and coffee. Not just a cafe but a total experience. The fit out with the antiques and collectibles (which are for sale) is fascinating. I am always telling people it is well worth the trip to Howick just to visit The Apothecary.
by Brendan Peat
Dec 18, 2011
Great Atmosphere, fantastic service and food with a great antique feel and buzz. good coffee, wine and unique beers, and happy staff. found the food all hand made from scratch to be absolutely delicious and can't wait to go back again. highly recommended to all.
by Jon Simpson
Nov 25, 2011
In response to "Poon" , do yourself a favour & go back & give them another try !
The chef is new, the coffee operator is new the coffee is awesome & so is the food.This place has to be the best on offer in Howick
by Poon Thoana
Jun 23, 2011
Decided to give this place a second chance and was served a very disappointing coffee (a watery flat white) after looking forward to one all day. Can't say anything better for the service as we were barely acknowledged even when ordering and when all of the staff had seen us come in. They had to double check a simple coffee order and staff were joking around loudly (very distracting as i could hear everything spoken by the kitchen from the window where we were sitting. I love to see staff getting along and having fun and this usually wouldn't have annoyed me if they had the same enthusiasm for their customers. The last time i visited they had forgotten to send a friends meal order out and left it sitting on the bench until we had to ask for it, then it had to be sent back to be reheated because it was cold by the time they sent it out. It's a shame because i enjoyed the food both times - nothing amazing, but plenty to choose from. You are better off grabbing a treat for and heading somewhere else for service and coffee. Should have learnt not to return the first time round!
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