Black Betty 'could be perfection'
Eat and Drink
Black Betty rose quickly in the estimations of a city without many brunch options post-quake. Fitted out with eclectic furniture, vintage lamps, and steel beams, the Madras St cafe was a popular spot.
About three years later, Black Betty is busier than ever. So much so, it has moved its roastery from the cafe site to free up space for more tables.
On a Sunday morning, every table is full and there's a line of punters staring significantly at those lone-brunchers nursing an empty coffee cup at a table big enough for six.
We snare a table in the ex- roastery, and guard it while one of our party ventures up to order at the counter.
The line to order is long. Very long. Fortunately, this is balanced by the friendly service when I finally get to the till.
The coffees arrive promptly and are well-executed. Two baristas are working furiously to keep pace with the steady stream of orders. The flat whites are creamy, strong, and just hot enough.
The breakfast stack is a potato cake with roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, sauteed spinach, poached egg, and bacon with pesto and hollandaise. It is nicely presented and the egg is perfectly poached. The potato cake has a rich, slightly salty flavour but is very slightly undercooked. The roast tomatoes are divine.
This dish could be improved with a dollop of tomato relish or something acidic to cut the richness of the base ingredients.
Overall, a great dish and nice to see something a bit different on the menu.
Different could also describe the Black Betty french toast which is done with crumpets. The bacon, banana and maple syrup option is perfect for a cold day. The crumpets taste like cinnamon and spice, but a difference in texture would be nice - some caramelisation on the edges would compliment the soft crumpet centre.
When a cafe is as busy as this one, it's easy to whip the bacon off the grill a few minutes too early and both dishes are let down by bacon without any crispiness whatsoever. I would be happy to wait five more minutes for crispy bacon, every time.
The atmosphere here is fantastic and the interesting menu sets it apart from your bog standard cafe.
Black Betty remains a firm favourite and with a few very minor tweaks, could be perfection.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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