It's a rather underutilised spot, the area of Dominion Road that Cazador is on - there's Cazador, a dairy, an air rifle shop and... Not much else. If, like me, you live in the area, you've been wishing for a cafe on that stretch for a while.
Prayers are answered in the form of Cazador's Delicatessen, right underneath the already-Auckland-famous restaurant. Flush with bread from several local bakeries (La Voie Francais, Wild Wheat and Vanye), cheese from a myriad of local producers, cured meats they've made themselves and truffle pate, maple syrup, olive oil, pastries and pottery from producers they love. And of course, house made pies that any meat eater would adore.
Cazador Deli's rabbit and mustard pie
And the pies really are incredible: they're hearty, with flaky golden pastry and sauces that really compliment the flavour of the ample meat. Think Waygu mince, bechamel and cheese as a twist on classic mince and cheese; a rich venison and mushroom; rabbit and mustard which is quickly becoming my personal favourite... The gorgeous meats are exactly what we'd expect from Cazador as Auckland's game and wild food restaurant and they're a real treat.
But of course they have plenty that is suitable for our vegetarian friends - there are sandwiches, filled rolls and all that local cheese - not to mention an utterly decadent mushroom, truffle and provolone cheese toastie.
You have to be quick though, their pies have been selling out, and they even the suggest you call ahead to order if you don't want to miss out on the pie, deli meat or toastie you've got in mind.
It's a project that's been on the cards for owners Rebecca and Dariush Lolaiy. They looked about the city for another spot to start a cafe before realising that keeping it all on one site was a way to keep from stretching themselves too thin. With the emerald green tiled wall and whole new little store, the fit-out (which they designed) was no small feat, yet they got the doors open just two weeks late, despite the setback of lockdown.
Dariush Lolaiy - head chef and co-owner
Our Food Editor, Claire Aldous, and I, snuck away from work this morning to have a look and a taste. The sun was streaming onto the outdoor seats, the smell of olive oil permeated the cafe and the coffee machine was rumbling away (they use EightThirty Coffee Roasters beans). A man sat outside with a dog. A girl sipped her coffee while illustrating on her iPad and little lines of patrons formed at the counter as patrons came and went.
It has the makings of a really good local cafe and we are very excited to hear that they will be getting more indoor seating once their carpenter, Tim Solomon at Slow Hand Design, is up and running again. His carpentry tools broke down during lockdown and though you can see the walnut shelves already, tables and chairs are still to come. However, already the number of patrons using the space in such a relaxed and leisurely manner proves the value of the quiet, well stocked, bright Cazador Deli as a place to stop and have a bite and a coffee.
It's friendly, inviting and nostalgic with all the local goods and widely sourced treats. I cal equally see myself popping by for bread as I can nipping in to grab a little gift for a foodie friend.
As a local in want of good pies and more cafe options, I admit that I am biased, but I really believe they are onto something good here. I'll see you there Saturday morning.
854 Dominion Road, Mount Eden