The Federal Delicatessen

The Federal Delicatessen (The Fed) is the new Al Brown restaurant on Federal Street. After dining at Depot next door last weekend (and the recommendations of several friends) I was keen to try The Fed as soon as I could.

We went on a Friday night and luckily managed to get a table straight away.  The vibe in The Fed is very 1950’s diner cool with booths, seats at the bar overlooking the food preparation area and the wait staff in cute retro style uniforms.

We decided to try a range of dishes to share so we could try a little bit of everything.   We got the smoked Kawhai fish cakes; the pastrami on rye with ballpark mustard; the turkey meatloaf with pecans, celery heart, Granny Smith and whole grain mustard; the poutine, which is fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy and the slaw.

The Kawhai fish cakes were amazing, crispy on the outside, soft, creamy and delicious inside.  The pastrami was also delicious, loads of tender juicy pastrami stacked on soft rye bread and perfectly complemented by a hot mustard.  The meatloaf was a bit bland and dry and although the poutine was OK the gravy was a bit bland and there wasn’t quite enough of it.

At The Fed they have NY style cheesecake the menu.  Cheesecake, especially New York style cheesecake, is one of my favourite desserts so I couldn’t go past this.  The cheesecake was outstanding, smooth and creamy and accompanied by fresh cream and tangy berry compote.

They also have a really good selection of drinks at The Fed.  I started with a glass of prosseco, a light bubbly white Italian style wine and then followed up with a soda jerk for grown ups, a lemon and lime Rickey with Ketel One vodka.  The soda jerk was light, refreshing and not overly sweet.  There is also a wide selection beers and other red and white wines, including some wines on tap.

Although I enjoyed our meal at The Fed and it’s a really fun place to eat, it’s fairly pricey for the kind of food you get and I’ve had better food for the same price at other restaurants around Auckland.  I’d definitely go back for the cheesecake again and to try some of the other desserts but I don’t think I’d hurry back for another main meal.


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