We have been meaning to write a review about Orleans for a long time. Both Alexia and I enjoy the vibe, the drinks and snacks there. So I finally brought my family along to eat a more substantial meal.
The entrance to Orleans is tucked off Customs Street East or alternatively through Britomart. You walk through a covered outdoor eating area with a big fireplace to the restaurant. On one side is Racket Bar (very good for a drink and run by the same people) and on the other is Orleans.
As the name suggests, the food and drinks are inspired by the American south, and there is live jazz to add to the atmosphere on Wednesday-Saturday nights.
The interior has an historic feel, with a pressed tin sealing and rustic looking walls. Many of the table are high and the seating is stools, but there are lower tables up front near the music. Be prepared to share a table on busy nights.
There was lots to tempt us within the Cheapeats price range. Even healthy options. Of course we headed the other direction and ordered their popular curly fries ($8), Orleans fried chicken with ranch dressing ($12), Orleans Slaw ($6), Skirt Steak ($18) and the special of the day, Pork Belly slices with slaw ($12).
There is a cocktail menu and lots of wine by the glass at a very reasonable price, but we just ordered soft drinks. I had their homemade Southern Iced Tea ($5) which comes in a large glass with lots of mint and slices of lemon.
We didn’t wait long for our food. We dived into the curly fries and slaw as soon as they hit the table. The fries are addictive – curly, golden and crunchy with a slightly spicy salt dusting. We liked the chipotle mayo which added another flavour dimension.
The slaw was our nod to our 5+ servings/day. A mix of red and green cabbage with a delicious dressing and tossed with spiced pepitas and peanuts.
Then came the meat dishes. There were 5 pork belly slices served with more of that delicious slaw. The slices were on the thin side, but the meat was very tender and there was a honey/soy style glaze on top. Easily a very happy meal for one.
The Skirt Steak was served medium rare, which is perfect for this cut of meat. It was quite tender and flavourful, and topped with sautéed peppers (capsicum) and a chimichurri sauce.
I love the Orleans Fried Chicken as a bar snack. There are several generous morsels with a crunchy seasoned coating, drizzled with ranch dressing. Yum!
We decided to share a dessert which are all reasonably priced at $10. I would have liked to try the Cookie Sandwich, with mint chocolate ice cream, but that presented a challenge to share. Instead we order the Baked Cheesecake, with sautéed strawberries and peanut butter cream.
This was a simple home-style dessert that was perfectly fine, but not the “something different” that I was looking for.
By the time we left Orleans, the place was filling up with a mix of office workers, tourists, and locals out for a pleasant evening of food, drink and music. That it is even a Cheapeats priced restaurant is a bonus! We hope that you enjoy it too.