Federal Delicatessen: Auckland's take on an old-school NYC Jewish delicatessen
An old-school Jewish delicatessen in Auckland, New Zealand? Unheard of! Until kiwi chef Al Brown created Federal Delicatessen. Next door to his other hugely successful restaurant, Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar, the 'Fed' will literally transport you to New York City. Having lived there myself for 3 years, I can attest to this. Al Brown got his Culinary Arts Degree in the USA, and worked all over the States, as well as Canada and Europe. His aim is to bring customers authentic deli food at its finest, and along with executive chef Kyle Street, he has certainly achieved this. To New Zealanders, the name 'delicatessen' conjures up images of cheese, sandwich meats and olives. A Jewish delicatessen is essentially a restaurant, open from the early morning until late at night. Informal and casual, you can go from having your morning coffee and bagel with cream cheese and lox, to satisfying late-night cravings with a slice of cheesecake. I took my Mum to the Federal Delicatessen for lunch and we were so blown away by the food that we can't wait to go back and try everything else. I ordered the White Fish Sandwich ($14.50), with smoked Kahawai, hot sauce mayo, dill and cucumber. While the smoked Kahawai is obviously the star of this sandwich, there's also a hidden surprise that will have you exclaiming in delight: crispy salmon skin crackling!!! It's crunchy and really adds that special something to this already-delicious sandwich. My Mum got the Turkey on Rye ($15), with shaved turkey, cranberry, walnuts, smoked cheddar and apple. She was raving about it also. The fries came with their skins still on, which I was really happy about, as they taste so much better, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of places in NZ that do this. I can't wait to return to try the house-cured pastrami and the New York Cheesecake.
Federal Delicatessen: 86 Federal St, Auckland