Brunch at Federal Delicatessen, CBD, Auckland

Al Brown is the Midas of the re-invent in the Auckland restaurant scene; everything he touches turns into gold.

Depot has set the standard for casual bistro dining since it opened. Ugly Bagels has divided the bagel-loving crowd, but it’s taken over as my bagel of choice. Love the sesame seed bagels! And now, we have Federal Deli or ‘The Fed’, Al’s take on the traditional NYC Jewish diner. Even though it’s only a few months young (opened 4th Sept), the place looks like it’s been here for decades, and takes you right back into 30’s. The furniture and wall are aged and the staff are appropriately attired in diner uniforms.


There is a choice of seating, – at the counter, cubicle, usual tables, or high chairs. The high chairs at the back was great to people watch. One thing which struck me about Federal Deli is that the crowd consisted of people across all age groups, there were elderly diners, families with young children, people dining alone. It certainly had a wide appeal, and it feels so familiar.

I had the latkes (shredded potato cakes) with crème fraiche, smoked salmon and dill ($18). I prefer latkes to hash browns, – the thin shreds seem to crisp up better. This was good, though I tend to cook latkes longer, and brown them more. The excellent smoked salmon is from The Salmon Man (salmon comes from Stewart Island), who cures to a special recipe for Federal Deli. Hands down THE best smoked salmon in NZ, – great texture and flavour.

I had the bottomless cup of ‘joe’ ($3.50) to go with this. The coolest part? Wait til you see what’s on the base of the mug.

My dining companion had the griddle cakes ($17.50) which are blueberry buttermilk pancakes with cinnamon butter and strudel crunch. The crunchy strudel is a genius addition, I love crumble, and this was like having some nutty, buttery, crumble on your pancakes. Plus I’m enamoured with the syrup pourer (Amazon.com has my order on the way).

We topped off our brunch with a slice of apple pie a la mode (apple pie with vanilla ice-cream, $11.50). While I like my apple pie to have a buttery, short crust, this was more of a flaky crust. The apple was stewed perfectly, and tasted very much of a traditional Granny Smith apple filling.

I really enjoyed the casual, friendly vibe and homey, comforting food at The Fed. Brunch was a resounding success, and I’m looking forward to a dinner experience next.

Federal Delicatessen
86 Federal St, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 363 7184
Weekday breakfast menu served from 7am, lunch/dinner from 11:30am.
Weekend Brunch menu served from 7am – 3:30pm

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