T and I are yin and yang in many aspects, but one thing we share a love of is filling our bellies. Food is always central to our anniversary celebrations, and last month we ventured into Cazador over on Dominion Rd (the southern end of the Mt Eden stretch, just a few minutes from our house in Mt Albert).
After awkwardly navigating through the entrance (the front door opens into a tiny enclosed space where you can presumably shake off rain and pull yourself together before opening another door that takes you into the restaurant) we found ourselves in a cosy little space, the first diners of the night. It’s a rustic place with a homey feel – stuffed deer heads and strings of onions adorning the wall – and earthy food to match.
While the wary eater in me gravitated toward the tried and true (i.e. safe) choices on the menu, I reminded myself that the whole reason we were there was to try the Cazador specialties: game. Sadly, the pheasant was all out, so the two mains we opted for were rabbit and the fish special of the day.
First up: the rabbit. A couple of drumsticks (does that apply to meat aside from chicken?) anchored in a thick red stew with pieces of smoked bacon, vegetables and a bit of spinach on the side was a great introduction to rabbit meat on my part. Every note in this dish matched the others perfectly. Delicious.
We’ve been getting into our fish this summer, and the terakihi on this occasion was simple yet lovely. I was a little dismayed when the plate arrived, I’ll admit – it looked far too plain to be appealing. Sometimes, less really is more, though. I even shoveled down the peas (which I normally shun, but in this case I couldn’t get enough of them – small, soft, fresh). Wasn’t so hot on the unidentified pieces of charred vegetables (resembled bok choy) but T liked the contrast. Winner.
The only letdown was the side salad T chose – charred sweetcorn on a bed of lettuce, accompanied by feta, tomatoes, and capsicum. The mix of textures worked well and it was creamy, not dry, but sadly lacking in flavour (the corn in particular). Bland.
Instead of sharing a single dessert, we ordered two: Baked cheesecake with berry compote (perfection) and baklava (of course). The latter was a little too heavy on the cinnamon for my taste, but not for T’s. The rose water syrup and yoghurt added an interesting touch. Awesome.
Frugal factor: low. Mains are clustered around the $30 mark, but at least portion sizes are decent – the servings are actually enough to fill up on. This is not a cheap eat, but it is a good eat for a special occasion. If you’re not on a budget, carry on!
A shoutout too to the delightful staff – warm and charismatic. Nice hosts make dining out so much more enjoyable! Our waitress was super jovial and not at all pushy.
854 Dominion Rd