Tess Nichol is the Consumer Affairs reporter for the Herald.

Brunch: Queenies, Freemans Bay

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Address: 24 Spring Street, Freeman's Bay
Phone: (09) 378 8977
Open: Weekdays from 7am-3:30; weekends from 8am-3:30 (kitchen closes 2.30pm)
Cost: $71 for three people

Queenies Cafe in Freemans Bay. Photo / Dean Purcell
Queenies Cafe in Freemans Bay. Photo / Dean Purcell


Covered in ivy and nestled on the corner of a side street in Freemans Bay, Queenies is the quintessential homely suburban cafe. There's a nostalgic theme to the decor, with classic Kiwi ceramics lining shelves and old New Zealand postcards covering the inside door of the bathroom. Of particular note is the "paint by numbers" mural on the back wall: a unique and unfinished landscape.


The menu has a Middle Eastern influence, with the regular brunch fare of eggs, bacon and hash browns ditched for dishes such as the Musabaha ($20), a platter of pickled veges with a soft boiled egg and homemade hummus, which my friend greatly enjoyed, and the Turkish eggs ($18) with eggplant and yoghurt. My other friend chose the sammie ($14.50) with bacon and an extra side of avocado ($4.50). I almost went for the cassoulet ($18) with chorizo, cannellini beans and fried egg before settling on a bowl of kedgeree ($19).

This was hearty and tasty but lacked depth of flavour - it came with a squeeze of lemon but could have used more acidity to bring out the flavours and a little yoghurt would have been a nice addition too.

On to the coffee: $4.20 for a flat white. They came out quickly and were nice and strong but a little too hot and the milk wasn't as creamy as we'd have liked. In fairness, the barrister looked young and suburban cafes are often the training ground for less-experienced coffee-makers.

The musabaha from Queenies Cafe in Freemans Bay. Photo / Dean Purcell
The musabaha from Queenies Cafe in Freemans Bay. Photo / Dean Purcell


Queenies was about half full when we arrived and got steadily busier while we were there, but the service stayed quick and friendly. We were there early in the morning and my friend tried his luck asking if he could order off the lunch menu - the lovely woman serving us just laughed and said sorry, but she'd get in trouble with the kitchen if she asked. It seems a small matter, but this kind of patience and friendliness is really welcoming when eating out. For a relaxed early morning brunch, I'd definitely go back.

- Canvas

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