Looking at the somewhat plain exterior of Black Frog Cafe, it may not yell 'French sophistication' at first glance. However, in a perfectly fitting understated French manner, the food inside is anything but plain.
Positioned in the centre of Kingsland, on the ever charming New North Road, this is an interesting little cafe in an interesting little neighbourhood. It takes the place of Spanish tapas joint Barcelona.
We decided to test Black Frog with the meal for which the highest expectations are set — a lazy Sunday morning brunch. It's also open for lunch and after dark on the weekends. The chirpy waiter greeted us with a warm smile and the offer to get our coffees underway before we'd even sat down. Great start. Better yet, our varied (perhaps modern and difficult) tastes in alternative milk options were met happily and without judgement or issues.
The cafe boasts a relaxed and simple vibe. It's probably not somewhere you'd venture to for the atmosphere alone, but it's perfectly sweet enough. However, any lack of atmosphere is well and truly made up for by the bloody awesome food and service.
Black Frog classes itself as a Kiwi kitchen with a French accent. It lives up to this definition wholeheartedly. The menu includes classic French dishes such as galettes and croissants, as well as French twists on Kiwi classics like Guillaume's Eggs Benedict. This freakin' amazing dish was eggs bene 2.0, served with rosti and homemade ratatouille.
The salmon and brie omelette is a dream and the champagne ham galette is made of all things French, gooey and delicious. There's a good range of gluten-free and vegetarian options available. There was a lack of vegan meals, but that's expected of a culinary culture largely based on dairy products.
There's also your plain Jane, traditional brekky food for those of the less adventurous nature (no judgement). Definitely venture to this little gem with an empty tummy. The servings are big and you'll want to finish them.
Another well deserved mention has to go to the coffee. Hot, strong and served with a miniature meringue (a finishing touch we didn't know we needed until now). The evening menu is staunchly French, listing classics like boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, tartiflette and French onion soup. We'll definitely be back for another visit.
All in all, Black Frog is pretty darn good and we'd recommend a visit. In an age where something new and vibey is popping up every day, there's something to be said about a simple joint focusing on good ol' fabulous food served with a smile.