Tag Archives: gluten free

Rotorua’s Aroma

Aroma Cafe
1126 Fenton Street, Rotorua

As the title of a cafe situated in the suplhuric-smelling city of Rotorua, I’m not sure that the name ‘Aroma’, conjures up the most appealing thoughts. However, name aside, we were pleased with our recent visit to this cafe.

There were more gluten free menu choices than vegetarian options, yet the staff were very accommodating with suggesting modifying menu items to make them vegetarian. In fact, the staff were very friendly and helpful overall. The husband indulged in a huge open chicken sandwich, with brie, cranberry and salad. My BLAT (hold the bacon, but add an egg) was very filling. The avocado was delicious, although the relish was a little overpowering. Both items were dressed in aioli and served with a generous portion of fries.

Open Chicken Sandwich Aroma Cafe CelesteReviews

Open Chicken Sandwich

BLAT Aroma Cafe CelesteReviews

BLAT (hold the bacon, add egg)

The coffee ($5 medium size) was lovely, and actually hot. Lately, we’ve been finding actual ‘hot’ coffee a rare occurrence.

Although too damp and windy for the munchkins on the day of our visit, there is a great undercover outdoor area at the rear of the cafe.

In a Nutshell: A lovely lunch stop in ‘aromatic Rotorua’.

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Casablanca Cafe

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.

Breads & Dips by CelesteReviews

Front - Spanish Grilled Tomato Bread, with Meze Platter at back

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.

Syrian Hummus by CelesteReviews

Syrian Hummus

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.

Chicken & Apricot Tagine b y CelesteReviews

Chicken & Apricot Tagine

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.