Cotto (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
It was my first time here and I was wondering where was I hiding these past few years? I just wished I knew of this place long time ago as these guys prepare an amazing Italian Fare. I had been to Italy many times and this place reminds me of the food there, aroma, texture, colour, ingredients etc.
Located beside the bridge in K’Road, just across Coco’s Cantina (another great restaurant) this is the place I usually don’t wander around but now that I was introduced to this place, I felt the need to discover what’s around it. The place is quite spacious specially for a K’Road establishment, there were ample seats and it was not cramped.
Menu is simple where every section is headed by its price, NZ$6, NZ$16, NZ$22 and NZ$10. First being the Antipasti, a the myriad small starter dishes; then comes what looks like a Secondi mixed with some Contorno (interestingly cheaper then the Primi), this is a selection of meat courses and side dishes; then Primi which is a selection of gnocchi, risotto, or pasta; and finally the Dolce which are the desserts. In each heading there are only 5 to 7 items.
We ordered almost every item on the menu except for the dessert as we don’t have room for them. And before starting this lovely meal we grabbed a couple of beer just to quench that thirst.
First orders that came with the beer are the Fermented Fries Feta Oregano (NZ$6.00) which has a very interesting strong flavour which goes well with any drink, nice and salty, but a very unique fries. Soft inside and crispy on the edges, it was perfectly cooked.
Then the next starter was the Zucchini Fritti (NZ$6.00), another great dish and was totally unexpected for me. I was not expecting this to taste like such, texture was light and crispy. It was so good I recreated Zucchini Fritti this at home.
Farinata (NZ$6.00) was also served as suggested by the waiter, it may look like a pizza, but this dish is type of thin, unleavened pancake or crepe made from chickpea flour. It was topped with some crispy fried sage and grated parmesan.
At this point we grabbed another round of beers, if I can remember these were just the tap beers, it was perfectly cold.
Pork Belly Peperonata Aged Balsamic (NZ$16.00), came next. Definitely way much better than your usual roast pork. Meat was not bland, it was fork tender and filled with flavours, skin was so crispy as well.
Then came the Saffron Arancini Smoked Ricotta Nduja (NZ$16.00), again it’s not just your average arancini, this was well made, cheesy, rice was al dente, and this is one of the arancini’s that I never felt heavy after eating.
We also had some veggies on the side, in the form of Eggplant Caponata Whipped Feta (NZ$16.00), certainly one of the best eggplant dishes in Auckland, it was light, airy and crispy on the outside. Whipped feta that accompanied this dish was the perfect complement to that already wonderful aubergine.
Then came the pastas, and I heard this is the pride of Cotto, fresh handmade pasta everyday so definitely orders some when you visit this place.
First on our pasta order was this Tortelloni Salted Hapuka Cherry Tomato Wilted Cos (NZ$22.00), that sauce was to die for, the filling was so creamy which contrasts nicefully with the tangy savoury tomato sauce. Pasta was the perfect thickness and cooked well.
Maltagliati Lamb Shoulder Ragu Chilli Fennel (NZ$22.00) came next, which basically is like small lasagne sheets served in a nice lamb ragu with a bit of kick! This one reminds me of the authentic nona cooking in Italy, rustic and tasty, one of the dishes with that homey feel.
Third pasta was Gnocchi Pea Asparagus Buffalo Mozzarella Basil (NZ$22.00). Another great dish, gnocchi was surprisingly light and tender, the sauce was magnificent, creamy, I just want to lick that plate clean.
Finally the Cannelloni Beef Short Rib Rocket Walnut (NZ$22.00), this was one of the best of the pastas, and it looks very interesting since you might associate it with a spring roll, it may look fried but I guess is baked. Filled with beef short rib and it was meaty delicious, the green sauce might push away those non vegetable lovers but trust me it was done perfectly here, it blended well with all the elements.
That was a lot of food, I was so full I just want to snooze after that. If I must rate all the dishes that I had from 1 to 10 then the lowest score was a 7 and most of them were a 9. Like I said the minute I grabbed a spoonful, I felt like I warped to Italy, the food was just simply fantastic.
Address: 375 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Phone: +649 394 1555