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Upper Vulcan Lane,
Auckland Central

(09) 309 6300

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Review byBrett Atkinson9/05/2007

3 out of 5

The quieter end of Vulcan Lane is probably the part of central Auckland that most resembles a European city, so it's no surprise to find the cosy Tasca occupying a narrow space framed by heritage buildings and designer boutiques. Apparently a 'Tasca' is a local bar found in the back streets of a city in Spain, and although we're more than 10,000 km away, Auckland's Tasca does an OK impression of a tapas bar in Toledo. And if they switched the radio off, (wimpy easy listening from Viva FM), and splashed out on a few vibrant world music CDs, it could feel a whole lot more authentic.

On a Saturday night, the four pubs further down Vulcan Lane are busy with serious drinkers, but Tacsa is offering a quieter alternative that demands we dive into their tapas menu. There's nothing authentic about the music and the very helpful Asian wait staff, but Tasca's tapas more than make amends. Servings are bigger than I remember from a few hazy nights in San Sebastian, and everything we try is tasty and good value. Wood fried Turkish bread comes with homemade dips, and the calamari is kept nice and simple. Potato and chicken croquettes would do very well at an international Bar Snacks Olympics.

All this eating is making us thirsty, and unfortunately the drinks menu is a bit disappointing. The wine list details a range of international wines from Spain, Germany and Argentina, but none of the "Vino del Mundo" are available. "We had a big function last week" the wait staff inform us, so we settle for a Pinot Gris and Chardonnay off the concise (just six) list of local wines. There is a vaguely Latin slant to the beers with Corona and San Miguel propping up the usual Kiwi suspects, and sangria and sherry stake another claim for Spanish authenticity.

Don't come to Tasca for a big night out, but if you want somewhere nicely laid back to have a few quiet drinks before kicking on to somewhere more raucous, then it's a good option. A few 1960s lampshades add a retro Kiwi touch to the simple whitewashed walls, and the diverse tapas menu may make you late meeting your friends wherever and whenever for more pubbing and clubbing.

Now if only they'd go to Real Groovy and buy some decent music...

Tasca has been reviewed by 4 users

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