The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Thursday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Auckland
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Sean Connolly Is Opening a Mediterranean-Inspired Restaurant Inside QT Auckland

The new restaurant is inspired by the flavours and spices of Sicily, southern France and Morocco.
By Stephen Heard
October 20, 2020
By Stephen Heard
October 20, 2020

The latest top chef to open a brand new restaurant in Auckland is Sean Connolly. After taking his name off the bill at SkyCity's The Grill and Gusto at the Grand last year, the chef has joined rival hotel chain QT Auckland to offer a taste of the Mediterranean.

The flagship Auckland property for QT Hotels & Resorts opens to guests on 1 November, 2020. The property found on the edge of the waterfront will be the tenth location for the boutique hotel group and the third in New Zealand.

Dining concepts at sibling QT properties include a European bistro, an indulgent cakery and a souk and bodega-inspired marketplace. At the Viaduct Harbour outpost will be a rooftop bar with sweeping marina views and the just announced signature restaurant, Esther.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by QT Auckland (@qtauckland) on

QT Auckland's Creative Director of Food and Beverage, Sean Connolly, says the new restaurant is inspired by the flavours and spices of Sicily, southern France and Morocco. It's name comes from Connolly's grandma.

The European-style bistro will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with room for 98 diners. Elsewhere in the venue will be a 21-seat indoor bar and an al fresco dining option with 16 seats.

Sean has been working with QT Auckland's appointed Executive Chef James Laird to bring Esther's menu to life. From an "open country-style kitchen," will come a selection of snacks, small plates and communal sharing options. A table-side trolley service will add some theatrics to the dining experience serving up the likes of salt-crusted fish, salads and desserts.

Esther's Mediterranean tapas menu will make an appearance at the hotel's rooftop bar. Rooftop at QT will be perched on the sixth floor of the property, with bar manager Roberto Giampaolo leading an extensive cocktail menu and local wine list. The 200-capacity space will feature lounge-style seating, tables for two and open areas to unwind with friends.

Esther and Rooftop at QT are set to open their doors in November in line with the hotel launch.

QT Auckland is now accepting bookings from 1 November, 2020. For more information and to make a booking, visit

Published on October 20, 2020 by Stephen Heard

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel