[Pictures: David Straight]
Vegetarians need not apply. Cazador’s Iranian-born owner Tony Lolaiy is a keen hunter, so the restaurant is festooned with the taxidermied animals he’s caught over the years. There are a couple of deer heads in the front room, a few trout; in the cosy back bar – with brilliant panelling – there’s a rifle on the wall held up by a couple of deer’s feet. Best of all, if you’re a hunter you can bring your kill in and he’ll cook it for you.
Non-hunters, don’t let that put you off. This is a simple, welcoming restaurant: there are textured 1970s plaster walls, there are white table cloths and iced water when you arrive. Service, from Tony’s wife Barbara, is efficient and friendly. This place has been here for something like 20 years: they haven’t changed much, and we like that. It’s also BYO, and we like that too.
The food is meaty, with Iranian touches. We started with venison chorizo ($12) – which was spicy and dense – and jaghor baghor ($13.50), a famous snack from Tehran made from venison kidneys and livers; we mopped it up with nan-e-bakhshi ($8.50), flatbread rolled with parmesan. There was a smoky braised rabbit ($25.50) – slightly tough, but beautifully gamey – and Persian duck in sour cherry sauce ($26.90): tender, falling off the bone and rich. Dessert: try the bakhlava ($11.90), but give the crème caramel ($10.55) a miss. All this for $120? Vegetarians are missing out. SFG
HOURS Monday to Saturday, 6pm until late
CONTACT DETAILS 854 Dominion Road, Balmoral, ph 620-8730. huntgatherfeed.com