No 65, Sylvia Park,
286 Mt Wellington Highway,
Mt Wellington, Auckland City,
09 573 6272
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5
You probably wouldn't expect the mega mall out at Sylvia Park to offer much in the way of interesting eating and drinking, but there are a couple of minor gems worth trying to find a car park for. We've already reviewed the modern spin on the classic Kiwi pub that the Garrison Public House offers, and just across Sylvia Park's purpose built "Dining Lane" the Cafe Casablanca is also definitely worth a look.
Readers of a certain age may remember Caravanserai, a great Turkish restaurant that opened in the late 1980s just down from Real Groovy. It was the first opening by Clare and Sally Hindmarsh, and they soon expanded across the hallway leading to a travellers' hostel to open the Merchant Mezze Bar on the corner of Queen St and Mayoral Drive. Now an apartment block blights the same corner, and the Mezze Bar has relocated to Durham Lane with a second branch across in Birkenhead.
Since opening Caravanserai the Hindmarsh's also opened other eateries including Bar Comida in Mission Bay and Tasca in Vulcan Lane and Newmarket. They've now moved more into middle New Zealand with the opening of Cafe Casablanca in Sylvia Park.
For fans of the original Caravanserai and Merchant Mezze Bar there's a lot that's familiar, but it's now on a larger scale. There's still the warm terracotta and aubergine decor studded with Turkish rugs and Moroccan-style antiques. On the hand written menu, a couple of Caravanserai favourites like Bedouin Upside Down Pilaf and Black Sea Chicken make an appearance.
Dining with a family group encompassing three generations, Cafe Casablanca proves to be as diverse and versatile as the Mezze Bar. While the name is Moroccan, Turkish cuisine is actually the key focus with a few well-seasoned diversions along the way from Spain to the Middle East. I mix things up with Istanbul Mussels ($11.50) - the battered shellfish on skewers are a faithful reproduction of my favourite Turkish street food - and tamiyeh ($11.50) a North African spin on falafel. Other highlights of our mixed age group are an excellent mixed mezze, and the Black Sea Chicken - grilled chicken breast on a fluffy bed of rice ($21.50).
Like Cafe Casablanca's CBD rellies like Tasca and the Mezze Bar, there's also good drinks offering including Spanish wine and Turkish-style lemonade or limonata, and a "how do I choose" selection of cakes to go with excellent coffee.
Cafe Casablanca has been reviewed by 6 users