9 Vulcan Lane,
(09) 366 0196
The ViewAuckland Review
I remember when Cassette Nine wasn't Cassette Nine - it was Voodoo Lounge and it was noisy, dark and somewhere I only really went at the end of a night and only if I was pushed. Fast-forward a few years and it's now a funky, well-styled bar that is full of booths, old TVs and a wall made up of jeans bottoms. It's a great sight on entry, but whether it works as a restaurant as well as it does a bar is a question I wanted to check out.
There was a really diverse mix of customers when we visited Cassette Nine - maybe this is because it was a Tuesday night and tourists were out in force or maybe the recent Grab One deal has brought in customers for whom perhaps Cassette Nine wasn't their natural home. It was quite nice though to be in amongst such a random mix of punters, especially as you get the impression that it could be very much a 'cool kids' mecca.
The friends that I coerced into dinner had been here before and were pleasantly surprised that you could actually dine here and talk without having to shout over the music (which was unobtrusive but did need to be taken off repeat - we heard the same song 3 times).
We kicked things off with an antipasto platter which held some lovely delights such as some tasty salamis, grilled courgette and roasted capsicum. The pate was light, fluffy and quite delicious, though the bread that accompanied was rather sparse. We asked for some more and eventually rather half-heartedly received a few more pieces (an extra $2 for this... hmmm).
The main was not so successful - we ordered the Pollo Diavola pizza, with spicy chicken, baby spinach, mozzarella, tomato and red onion. This certainly had the baby spinach... almost too much, and whilst the chicken was tender it really wasn't that spicy. The tomato sauce also had no real taste of note. Pollo Diavola essentially means 'Devil's Chicken' but there wasn't anything devilish about this. It was at best OK, desperately needing those one or two extra ingredients to raise it above mediocre.
The staff are laid back and probably better barmen than waiters. Meals were delivered early before we'd finished the previous plates which meant for a pretty crowded table, especially as glasses and plates were cleared seemingly at random rather than when finished with. There didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for making a visit there anything other than standard.
Cassette Nine is probably somewhere I would go for a drink on a busy night rather than for dinner. It has potential as a restaurant if only the people on the floor and in the kitchen made the dining experience as cool and fun as the surroundings. Some work in those areas would make this place unique but at the moment it's very much set at middling.
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Content updated: 24/11/2014 12:55