Saturday, April 26

Food Review: Al's Deli

Cuisine: Deli/Brunch/American
Price: $50 (4 dishes and drink)
Location: 492 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Walking into Al's Diner I was greeted by a d├ęcor which was a mix between an American diner and a cafe, the tone setting the mood for casual dining. When I spoke to the server I was happy to discover that everything in Al's is freshly made. This includes the bread, meat, cakes and milkshakes. It's rare to find an eatery where they make everything in house, so I was immediately excited to start eating! I was overwhelmed by choice, everything sounded delicious. I decided to start with the Mexican inspired bagel of the week and cheese cake, before moving onto a Mega Main and Moose Ears. I had chocolate milkshake to drink.

I had to try the cheese cake, and wasn't disappointed. The base was crunchy with a bit of sharpness to it, I think it was lemon. The cheese struck the balance between firm and soft. It had just the right consistency that it held together on your fork, but melted in the mouth. The topping's strawberries were fresh, though the jelly was perhaps too sweet. A fantastic slice of cheese cake and a great start to the meal.

I ordered the bagel of the week which was shredded beef, with avocado and salsa in a sesame seed bagel. The beef provided a nice bite, but the avocado and salsa were a bit lacking in volume, it was mainly a meat sandwich! The bagel was nice and fresh. I was pretty happy with the balance between the veggies and meat, which provided a refreshing bite.

A selection of Al's Deli's food. The Mega Main pictured top left, delicious!
(Source: Al's Deli Facebook page)

I ordered chocolate milkshake which was tasty, but nothing outstanding. I've never found a milkshake which satisfies my chocolate cravings.

I then ordered the Mega Main which is slices of smoked beef brisket in a sour dough rye bread sandwich, with a drop of mustard. If you love meat, you'll love this, it's that simple! The beef was succulent, with the mustard adding a hint of sour to balance the fat of the meat. The bread was clearly freshly baked that day, it was lovely. I could have easily eaten several more of these tasty treats!

The final dish I ate was the Moose Ears with maple butter. Moose Ears?! They're flat whole wheat doughnuts with a topping of your choice. It certainly sounded interesting but the presentation was slightly more ordinary. It looked like a large, thin, brown pancake. The taste was also pretty ordinary. The maple butter was a treat, but the dough itself was bland and slightly chewy. Worth ordering as a novelty but nothing more.

Al's Deli is like the perfect eatery for brunch. Their savoury options are a treat, with great sandwiches and bagels packed full of fresh flavours. Everything is home made which is a rarity to be savoured. The sweeter options are more ordinary though, with the chocolate milkshake and Moose Ears failing to excite. I'll definitely be popping in again to try some more of their sandwiches and bagels!