It is not often that I find myself down the Spencer Street end of the CBD, which means I’ve been aching to check out Kinfolk for the longest time, but haven’t had the opportunity in my day to day wanderings to just happen past it on the fly. Finding myself with an unexpected morning free, I hopped on a city loop train and purposely got off at Southern Cross with the intent on finally experiencing Kinfolk.
Why is Kinfolk so interesting? It’s actually a social justice project, where all of the cafe’s profits are given to four development projects. The cafe is run by volunteers, the food supplies and outfit are all donated, and you can actually chose which project you would like your money to go towards, using the old ‘put a coffee bean in the appropriate jar’ means of funds distribution.
The cafe is a nicely cluttered, comforting space – basically think hippy chic. The volunteer staff are a cheery bunch, although it is wise to keep in mind that they are volunteers, and while the service I experienced was smooth and friendly, due to the concept they’re not going to be able move the earth just to please your whims (so remember that next time, lady seated at the table next to me who had a fit because there weren’t enough ‘lunchy’ options to her liking).
The food available is very brunch orientated and features a lot of simple, rustic dishes. I ended up going with the bean cassolet, a little ceramic dish filled with a variety of beans in a sweet tomato sauce, flecked with generous white daubs of feta, with two nice slices of crusty bread on the side brushed with oil.
My English breakfast tea, which arrived at nearly the same moment as the beans – well done on the synchronicity there, waitstaff – was served in a lovely fat, brown 70s-style teapot with a mis-matched cup and saucer set. The whole picture of the fat teapot sitting next to the beans was so striking that I actually stopped to snap a little photo before starting to eat, which as I’m sure as you’ve noticed from this wall of text blog, I’m not a habitual photographer, and for me to stop and take the time to take a snap before shoveling food in my face is a big deal.
Now, as you may have noticed, the beans are not terribly large. You will not receive an acreage of food in terms of portion size here. But what was there was very nice indeed, with creamy feta slighting up against the sweet tomatoey beans that still had a touch of bite to them. And honestly loading up slices of good bread with tasty, saucey vegetables never gets old with me.
After such an anticipated wait, Kinfolk could have very easily been a disappointment, but I certainly felt very content after popping my coffee bean into the Palm Island indigenous education program jar and walking off to work. I’m sure there’s plenty like me who spend a goodly portion of their income on eating out, so it’s good to have a place where you can not only purchase a happy tum, but also a little change for the better somewhere else in the world.
673 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD