65 Dining Lane, Sylvia Park
No, our GPS didn’t recognise the street for this restaurant either, but on further searching we discovered that Casablanca Café is actually part of Sylvia Park, facing on to the Mt Wellington Highway, near the cinema.
Casablanca Café is inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and boasts an interesting menu. It is run by the same people as Tasca (Newmarket, Vulcan Lane and Mt Eden) and Mezze Bar in central Auckland.
Our party of four shared some options from the ‘small plates’ menu to begin our evening. The Spanish Grilled Tomato Bread wasn’t quite what we were expecting, but still tasty. The Meze Platter featured dips and breads, a tabouli salad, falafels and olives – a great way to sample many flavours.
Needing a refreshment, I ordered the Limonata, advertised as homemade lemon and lime. It sounded delicious, but tasted like syrupy cordial. As someone who loves freshly squeezed lime juice, I was a little disappointed, and stuck to the Efes Pilsen (Turkish beer) to quench my thirst.
I chose the Syrian Hummus dish ($19.50) for my main meal. This flavoursome hummus (with a lovely lemon tang) was topped with crispy falafels, a splattering of chickpeas, tahini, tomato and mint salsa, and served with bread. I also ordered a side of grilled haloumi ($5.50), which although was very enjoyable, was a little small in size for the price tag. All in all, a very filling meal.
The husband ordered the famous Iskender Kebab ($25) – pide bread with spit roasted lamb and a tomato and thyme sauce, while another dining companion feasted on a meal of Chicken and Apricot Tagine, with aniseed roasted vegetables on couscous ($26.50).
Casablanca Café bills itself as a stylish eatery, inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and although it has a fashionable interior and warm ambiance, it is still a ‘mall’ restaurant. It is also a shame that this restaurant does not have table service, meaning that everyone has to leave the table and hover around the counter to ask questions about the menu before finally placing their order.
Top Tip: Casablanca Café offers a special gluten free menu.
In a nutshell: Very tasty meals, in a pleasant setting. This café would make a good dinner venue before catching a movie at Sylvia Park.