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[Photographs: David Straight]

There doesn’t appear to be any Basque food, but we don’t care. Basque is in the back streets of Newmarket – just there, behind the movies and near the little park. It’s small and noisy, and it’s hard to get a table. The menu is short, Spanish tapas, rustic, casually presented and nicely cooked.

And there is maître d’ Carol Pearcy, possibly the most superbly eccentric waiter in Auckland, all dark-rimmed eyes and smoky voice and who sells you a glass of rioja by saying, “This is sex in a glass.” And it was, and we drank two glasses each.

The food? It’s almost beside the point, but it is really good. We ate rosemary lamb cutlets ($13) and we ate octopus, slow-cooked and tender ($13.50) and there was a vinegary plate of red cabbage ($9) and roasted cauliflower ($8.50). And then we ate a fig tart that was densely sweet ($11.50). With it, we drank Pedro Ximenez sherry, and we left very happy. SFG

HOURS Saturday to Thursday, 4.30pm to late; Friday 12pm to late.

ADDRESS 61 Davis Crescent, Newmarket, ph 523-1057. (not currently working in the Latin way)

IMPORTANT DETAILS The wine list is entirely Spanish. No sauvignon blanc here!

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