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Book review: The Engine Room Eatery

By's Darren Bevan

Published: 11:16AM Tuesday December 04, 2012

Situated on Auckland's North Shore in Northcote and just opposite one of the best little cinemas in the country, lies The Engine Room Eatery.

In 2006 the venue opened up to critical acclaim, snagging a major award within the first year, and then managed to win major awards for the next seven years.

Fans of the venue have been clamouring for a cook book for years to share some of the secrets of their success and founders Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen have come to the party with The Engine Room Eatery. 

Let me tell you, this book is something else - clearly a labour of love. A hefty hardback with over 550 pages, it's not the most portable of books but it is one of the most essential for foodies.

It opens with a long personal list of notes from Schamroth and Koppenhagen followed by a whole stack of photos from the eatery itself; snapshots of the kitchen, the staff and black and white shots of a day in the life of the eatery.

It's a nice refreshing start to a cook book and one which really sets the personal nature of this book out as a mission directive.

It then launches into its cocktails section, a splash of vibrant and welcome colour before following a menu of amuse bouche, first course, main course, dessert and staff meals picks.

It's a bold and exquisite book and one which will actually challenge the chefs at home to up their game. The book really does give you all the ingredients and methods to create your own fine dining experience.

Be warned, I don't think it's not a book for casual cooks looking for something at the end of the day - it's more for people looking to wow their palate and potentially impress at a dinner party.

The Engine Room Eatery is an essential purchase for foodies and it's also a welcome change in format to the cookbooks genre, which is starting to look occasionally formulaic.   

It's unique, sumptuously photographed and completely personal. It has a soul and heart, which if poured into cooking, will result in a meal which is a gastronomic delight and will satiate the foodie for a long, long time to come.

The Engine Room Eatery by Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen
Publisher: Random House
RRP: $70
Available now