Nelson cafe triumphs above all others

2013 WINNER: Jester House Cafe in Nelson.
2013 WINNER: Jester House Cafe in Nelson.

The winner of the second annual Cafe of the Year awards has been announced, with Nelson taking top prize.

With more than 3000 cafes from Cape Reinga to Bluff, it's clear that New Zealand is a cafe-loving nation. So it was no surprise there were more than 600 entries for this year's Cafe of the Year competition and 45,000 Kiwis voted for their favourite.

Jester House Cafe in Nelson has taken home the top award in the second annual competition, with their dish of goat and tomato tagine. As well as the title of Cafe of the Year, owners Steve Richards and Judy van den Yssel-Richards have won a new Fiat 500S and $2500 worth of Wattie's and Goodman Fielder products for their kitchen.

WINNING HOSTS: Steve Richards and Judy van den Yssel-Richards.
WINNING HOSTS: Steve Richards and Judy van den Yssel-Richards.

Food industry judges led by head judge Kerry Tyack visited the top 18 cafes nationwide (as voted by the public) to select the regional winners and the overall New Zealand Cafe of the Year for 2013. Tyack says Jester House Cafe delivers "a unique experience, fantastic alfresco dining and atmosphere and outstanding service . . . [it's] a little gem in a beautiful part of the country, and somewhere we would recommend without hesitation."

In honour of their win, here are recipes from Nelson's winning Jester House Cafe so you can create delicious cafe dishes from the comfort of home.


Jester House Cafe's goat and tomato tagine with chickpea salad and yoghurt dressing


1kg goat meat (or lamb), diced

500g onion, peeled and diced

2 tsp garlic, peeled and diced

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground fennel seed

1 tsp ground black pepper

tsp chilli

tsp ground cloves

1 pinch nutmeg

cup tomato paste

800g Wattie's chopped tinned tomatoes

Chickpea salad

4 cups chickpeas, cooked

2 cups Wattie's canned corn

cup currants

2 lemons, zest and juice of

2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Yoghurt dressing

1 cup Meadow Fresh yoghurt, plain unsweetened

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

For the tagine, heat a little cooking oil and fry off the goat in batches in either a tagine or casserole dish.

In the same pan, add a little more oil and fry off the onion, garlic salt and spices.

Add the meat back to the pan (along with any juices), then add the tomato paste and tinned tomatoes.

Cook on the stove top over a low heat for approximately 2 hours until meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.

Season to taste.

For the chickpea salad, mix the first five ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Before serving, add the parsley and coriander and season to taste.

For the yoghurt dressing, add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

Serves: 6

Fairfax Media