Labour of love

30 Aug 2021
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In a world of communal eating, small plates, tapas and other iterations of modern New Zealand culinary sharing, it’s not uncommon to sit down in a restaurant with a group of friends over a couple of drinks and a charcuterie board (shared cured meats and bread). But there aren’t too many of these platter- style shares around Auckland that have as much passion and dedication behind them, as the one at Cazador Restaurant, at the Roskill end of Dominion Road.

It’s no secret Cazador is known for its expertise with meat; the taxidermied decor kind of gives it away. Dariush Lolaiy (chef and co-owner – with Rebecca Smidt, his wife) has been hunting since he was a child and his Dad, Tony – who started Cazador in 1987 – has always believed that if you kill animals you must respect them by not wasting anything. 

This is an ethos that runs right through the restaurant, including the charcuterie board. “On our board we have coppa – cured heritage pork, venison and walnut salami – velvety duck parfait and a chunky venison terrine with prune and almond.” Any meat is hunted or free range and sustainable sourcing is always at the fore.

Anyone who knows anything about charcuterie knows it’s a labour of love. The process of getting meat to this ridiculously delicious, tender state can take months – even years. It’s a long game, not something you can whip up to serve the next day.

Cazador has been highly rated, reviewed and placed in the top echelons of some of New Zealand’s most loved culinary awards. Dariush and Rebecca’s thoughtfulness towards the planet and animal welfare is also evident in their attitude towards people, and customers can’t help but feel like they’re being welcomed into someone’s home.

Cazador Restaurant & Delicatessen, 854 Dominion Road, Mt Eden Phone 09 620 8730,

You can read more about what is happening in Roskill in the latest issue of Roskulture here.