Rebecca Smidt and Dariush Lolaiy are the very charming owners of Cazador, one of our favourite restaurants: in the two years since they bought the place from Dariush’s parents they’ve poured heart and soul into the place and that’s why we love it. It’s also the reason they don’t have much in their fridge except for beer, coconut water – and condiments. “Condiments are the only thing that survive,” says Dariush. “We buy fresh veges with the best of intentions – but we’re never here.”
The pair were at a wine tasting at Ponsonby Road Bistro recently when chef Sarah Conway brought out this pork rillette: Dariush got some to take home. “I love her food. She’s using French flavours, but with nutmeg and pink peppercorns. It’s totally outside what I’d do.”
Dariush’s mum Barbara – who ran front of house at Cazador from 1987 until a couple of years ago – makes this legendary apple sauce using gin and apples. “It’s all about the cooking,” says Rebecca. “Not too squishy, but not too firm either.”
Rebecca’s Granny makes legendary relishes – in the fridge at the moment is her tomato relish made with black pepper and mustard, which she gave to every guest at their wedding a couple of years ago. “All of Granny’s cooking is just good Kiwi food,” she says. “Always with fresh veges and heaps of preserving.” It’s good on eggs, which they cook a lot of when they do cook.
Coconut water. Helps after a late night in the restaurant. “We live for it,” says Rebecca. “It’s the one thing that gets you through.”
Sriracha hot sauce. “The one you get in every American Asian restaurant,” says Rebecca. (Though not for long: the Californian factory that produces it got shut down last year.)