86 Federal St, central city. Ph 363-7184, thefed.co.nz.
Breakfast, lunch & dinner 7 days. $
Eyebrows aplenty were raised when Al Brown opened this homage to a New York Jewish deli, but if there are detractors to “The Fed”, they’re lying low; most people who visit for the first time find themselves compelled to keep going back, so addictive are the fare and the absorbingly friendly atmosphere here. Much of the appeal, as with any great deli, is visual: all that food on display — the salmon, salt beef, pickles, thick rye-bread sandwiches. And the busy team putting it all to good use. It’s a culinary voluptuousness that we’re not much accustomed to here, and it’s deeply satisfying to discover it done well, and only slightly disconcerting to realise that the food porn makes decision-making difficult. Definitely order the ox tongue. And the lox. And a piece of pie or two... And put in a polite suggestion about changing the way they do cawffee, if you like.
A favourite dish: Turkey meatloaf with pecans, celery heart, granny smith and wholegrain mustard.
Shared-plate options / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Bar / Craft beer selection / Good for kids / Bookings not usually taken