Set up & site: Before the cuisine influence at 484 New North Rd moved north to France, Black Frog was Spanish tapas restaurant Barcelona and some of the interior remains unchanged. The four-petal flower patterns on the wall dividing the restaurant from the kitchen and stamped on the floor by the entrance are still there, the latter directly underneath a surfboard — which, I guess, is the Kiwi part of the cafe's slogan, "Kiwi kitchen with a French accent." This is all a roundabout way of saying Black Frog is lacking a cohesive style to give it a distinctive character of its own. However, the space is naturally light-filled and the raised indoor porch area out the back has a charming view over to Eden Park and the hills beyond.
Sustenance & swill: There is plenty to choose from at Black Frog, including lunch food, smoothies and a $45 platter for two. The first page is dedicated to a range of sweet and savoury crepes. All are made by a chef who, we are told, came from France a week before the cafe opened to work here. My flatmate and I share a Mediterranee ($16.50), a savoury gluten-free buckwheat crepe filled with goat's cheese, walnuts, honey and sundried tomatoes, and a croque monsieur. We turn the monsieur into a madame by adding a fried egg ($18). Black Frog's version uses a lovely salty and slightly nutty prosciutto rather than ham, serving it with cheese and bechamel sauce on a soft, sourdough bread. The crepe itself is light and stuffed with topping. The goat's cheese is beautifully creamy, offset well with a drizzle of honey and the sundried tomatoes are easy to pick out when their flavour becomes overwhelming. We finish with a cacahuete crepe ($14) — a sweet crepe filled with Nutella, banana and a peanut butter sauce. Sweet, salty, and absolutely decadent.
Service and other stuff: Our waitress was refreshingly frank, someone I imagine probably talks to her friends much the same way she spoke to us, which is different from the friendly and accommodating patter those working in hospitality usually adopt (not that there's anything wrong with that, it was just a striking difference). Of course, being a bit cheeky doesn't go well if you don't know your stuff, but she was able to answer all our questions easily and thoroughly and was never far away when we needed more water or were ready to order.