Tuesday, October 25
We attended the Global Perspectives Summit at Melbourne University, and were introduced to social enterprises - which are "organisations that applies business strategies to achieving philanthropic goals." Kinfolk relies on a few core staff, providing training and experience for a bunch of volunteers, and distributes its profits between four projects, in Rwanda, Ghana, Palm Island and Melbourne itself.
Location: 673 Bourke St (across the road from Southern Cross Station - see map)
Website: Kinfolk's cute and informative official website, a blog review with photos, an interview with the manager and many more reviews on urbanspoon.
Price: generally ~$10 for lunch mains (although the lamb was $13), sample breakfast and lunch menus are available online.
Lemongrass and ginger tea - served in a cute teapot, aww.
Chai latte - very milky, not too sweet (which is good, because the last chai latte I had from a different cafe was too milky and sickly sweet). However, there wasn't much of the "chai" flavours.
Braised lamb shoulder - "cous cous, roquette, currents and minted yoghurt." The lamb was warm, flavoursome, and soft. Never had currents or dried fruit with my braised lamb before, but the flavours worked fairly well, with the plain cous cous and the slightly bitter rocket. Small portion. There were also a few large chunks of lamb fat, and a mysterious squishy meat part that reminded me of fish ovaries (I still don't know what it is).
On a side note - yes I had to look up if rocket and roquette were the same vegetable. Sure enough, they are. It feels pretentious when cafes use fancy words to replace common ones, but I suppose it works in helping people imagine a fancy delicious meal which in reality is quite simple.
Frittata - "Sliced cauliflower, zucchini, aged goats cheese frittata with salad and relish". I've invited our guest, the solipsist to give a verdict "not great but not terrible… somewhat flavourless, but with a nice texture. I can forgive the lack of flavour because the relish was nice. Overall, I've had better, though. The salad was also a bit salty." Also a small serving.
Other: a variety of tables and chairs for seating. Some were quite communal benches, which is different if you're not used to it. The crooks and crannies were filled up with artsy bookshelves, handwritten book covers with poetry and the likes. A lovely atmosphere to sit and chill. After your meal you will be given a coffee bean to choose which project you would like the profit to be distributed to.
Rating: 3.5/5 Kinfolk has generally positive reviews with 92% likes on urbanspoon (currently)! Like others, I do really like the concept of the socially conscious business, equipping volunteers with employable skills, and donating to community projects. However, the quality of the food was just average. From other reviews, the coffee seems to vary from good to very bad. For $13, I would expect a slightly larger bowl of lamb. We did have to go for a second meal elsewhere, which always drops my rating for a place. In summary - do visit, for the lovely atmosphere and the unique business concept, but make sure you're not too hungry on the day.