Black Cottage Cafe


Awarded by Sophia Aimee Paton
Nestled in the heart of Coatesville in the north of Auckland, Black Cottage Café is a true culinary treasure. At the heart of this beautiful and quaint café is a dish that completely stole the spotlight this year: shakshuka. Loved by both locals and visitors from around the country and world, this flavourful dish has become an essential part of the café's identity, blending diverse tastes and traditions, making it a standout in Auckland's food scene this year that is highly worthy of a nomination. Every dish has a unique story behind it, but shakshuka's tale is as riveting as the dish itself. This masterpiece is comprised of poached eggs in a bubbling cauldron of tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic and capsicum. It is infused with the aromatic dance of spices including paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper. With the original roots of this dish tracing back to the regions of the Middle East and North Africa, shakshuka found its home at Black Cottage Café, where it was embraced wholeheartedly and made its mark as an Auckland classic. As you enter Black Cottage Café, you are greeted by the beautiful aromatic symphony wafting from the kitchen. Picture this: the shakshuka arrives at your table, tucked in a tiny skillet pan in all its glory, crowned with crumbled feta cheese; a testament to the chef's attention to detail. The vibrant hues of the flavoursome sauce, the perfectly poached eggs, and the aroma of spices meld together to create a visual and sensual culinary masterpiece. With each bite, the flavours unfold like chapters in a book that you just cannot seem to put down. The tomatoes are beautifully ripe and succulent, and blend harmoniously with the velvety olive oil. The capsicum and onions provide a delightful crunch. whilst the spices of cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper add layers of complexity (and a kick!). Then just when you think you've experienced the biggest flavour explosion ever, the creamiest feta cheese takes the experience to a whole new level of culinary excellence. Spread generously on the crunchy bread, the sauce and creamed butter soaked in, create a heavenly concoction of textures and tastes. Shakshuka is more than just a dish to Black Cottage Cafe; it's a bridge between cultures that has a huge representation of Auckland's rich diversity. The mix of Middle Eastern and North African flavours with local ingredients, mirrors the melting pot that Auckland is. It's a successful tribute to the city's multicultural essence, where people from all over Aotearoa come together, sharing stories, traditions, and above all else, food. In every spoonful, there's a taste of history and a blend of cultures, along with a whole lot of authenticity. It's not merely a dish; it's a full-on experience that speaks volumes about Black Cottage Cafe's commitment to quality, authenticity and the celebration of diversity. This culinary masterpiece, born from tradition and elevated by creativity, has rightfully earned its place as the must-eat dish on the menu in 2023. Black Cottage Café, through its shakshuka, has not only exploded our taste buds, but has also etched another successful chapter in the culinary story and heritage of Auckland. The shakshuka at Black Cottage Café isn't just a dish. In my eyes, it's an award-worthy experience that deserves every bit of praise and recognition it receives. A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to the chefs, and the passionate souls behind the scenes at Black Cottage Café, who have transformed a humble dish from the Middle East and North Africa into a god-tier delight.