Guys, we’re about to let you in on a secret. Tucked away in Ponsonby, you’ll stumble upon THE best restaurant-slash-bar everrr. Beautiful? Check. Fun? Check. Delicious? You betcha. And while we’re tempted to keep the delightful gem all to ourselves, we just can’t stop raving about it… and so will you!
Enter the one and only Vodka Room. Opening its doors earlier this year, the Russian-inspired venue brings Moscow to Auckland in the most glamorous way. Vodka Room keeps the good times rolling from midday to the wee small hours with karaoke rooms, almost 150 (yes, 150!) different types of vodka and a divine kitchen—that’s open until 3am FYI.
Off the main drag of Ponsonby, Vodka Room is housed in an expansive two-storey building. Plush velvet seating and chandeliers are complemented with reclaimed timber and shipping containers. The result? A stunning venue with relaxed vibes—you and your squad could happily pass the day (and night) away here.
Downstairs, an intimate restaurant backs onto a sun-drenched courtyard. Upstairs, you’ll find two luxury karaoke rooms, complete with “push for vodka” service buttons. You’re never too far from your cocktail fix—Vodka Room has not one, not two but three bars. And, if you fall in love with the venue (you will), the friendly team is only too happy to host your next event, function or shindig. The stunning Rose Room upstairs can be booked for all of the above as well as private dining.
At the heart of Vodka Room, you’ll find an open kitchen that puts a modern twist on Russian fare. To bring out the best of the seasonal ingredients, head chef Murray Wiblin (ex Ebisu) is all about a slow-food approach—often pickling and curing ingredients.
Designed to be shared, the menu is divided into cold, warm and sweet eats. Start with vodka-cured salmon or spoon into borsch—an unmissable beetroot soup paired with beef cheek. Work your way through eggplant ratatouille, crab blini rolls and oh-so crispy duck fat potatoes.
No visit is complete without devouring pelmeni aka Russian dumplings. The morsels of happiness are packed with beef, pork and kimchi—what a combo. Vegetarian folk will relish in vareniki dumplings showcasing a parcel of potato and cheese. We’ll have one of each, thanks.
Visit over lunch to enjoy their “rush in” lunch board (what a name!). For just $20, the sharing board is stacked with fresh bread, antipasti (think pickle, kimchi and buckwheat salad) and your choice of fish, pork belly, beef or gnocchi. Trust us, the mouth-watering spread is a top contender for the best—and cheapest—lunch in town.
It wouldn’t be Vodka Room without its namesake: vodka. Sourcing the spirit from all four corners of the globe, you’ll discover a “craft vodka” range like no other. Find your favourite with a vodka tasting flight (yes, it’s a thing) or order a chilled carafe to share among friends. The cocktail list showcases bold, refreshing flavours and inventive concoctions—marshmallow-infused vodka anyone?
Whether you’re after a romantic dinner for two, business lunch to impress, karaoke with the squad or cocktails in the sun, Vodka Room has you covered. The cat’s out of the bag with this incredible spot and we have a sneaky suspicion you’ll love it as much as we do!
Image credit: Siobhan Mitchel and Anna Kidman