Bringing Kazakh flair to a Kiwi classic
Is there anything better than a Kiwi meat pie?
You may think nothing comes close to a good old mince and cheese - but a new cafe in Glendene is mixing the New Zealand favourite with a taste of Kazakhstan.
Owner and chef Raha Assilbekov of BLD Cafe in the Glendene village shopping centre says his ‘‘top secret’’ pastry recipe is melt-in-your-mouth.
‘‘You will not find this kind of pastry anywhere else in New Zealand.’’
But you can forget about ground up mince, the meat in his pies only come diced.
He says he tried at least 50 different recipes before finalising the one he would use for his newlyopened cafe.
Assilbekov says his technique and recipe are derived from a combination of what he learned from chefs and home cooks in Kazakhstan.
He researched many techniques, and trialled many flavour combinations so that his recipes suit the Kiwi palate while remaining authentic, he says.
Assilbekov says he is one of about 100 Kazakh people in New Zealand.
The Westgate resident moved to New Zealand 10 years ago and trained as a chef in Auckland.
Assilbekov says he always cooked traditional meals for his family, so starting a cafe that served a blend of Kiwi and Kazakhstani food seemed like the most obvious choice.
‘‘You will not find this kind of pastry anywhere else in New Zealand’’
And he says he wants patrons to feel a difference from the moment they step inside his on-ofa-kind cafe.
The ceiling is designed like a yurt - a Kazakhstani home - and the walls are embellished with traditional symbols representing unity.
The item he is most looking forward to introduce on the menu is charcoal cooked meat on skewers.
The lamb pieces are ‘‘extrasucculent’’ because of the spices and marination technique used, he says.
And yes, a hero’s welcome awaits Sasha Baron Cohen - also known as Borat - should he wander into the Glendene cafe.
‘‘Borat put my country on the map.’’
BLD cafe is currently open for both breakfast and lunch.
It is located at the Glendene Village Shopping Centre 4343 Great North Rd, Glendene.
Chef Raha Assilbekov says he wants to give Kiwis a taste of Kazakhstan with BLD Cafe.