Words and photograph by Scott Viney
People open cafés for all sorts of reason. Some do it for the money and others for the freedom of not been chained to a desk. Then there are the passionate operators who have a love affair with coffee and cafe culture, but rarely do you find a cafe that is motivated by a charitable pledge.
While a minor number of operators notoriously quickly ‘build up’ a cafe reputation (and financial position) for the purpose of selling at a profit, Kinfolk operates as a social enterprise. Profit is not the end game; each year’s surplus is donated to particular projects and charities that help the most vulnerable people in our society.
The social enterprise known as Kinfork has been running since 2010, and since its operation has raised $100K. This stunning achievement could only have been successful through the passionate team at Kinfolk and the constant support of volunteers in a variety of roles. To date, it has been estimated that 6,000 volunteer hours have been contributed from people of a diverse background, race, gender and age.
Residing at the bottom end of Bourke Street, Kinfork has long been known as the ideal escape from the city grind that thousands of commuters face after exiting Southern Cross Station. Originally being two run down shop fronts with dusty floors and yellow walls, the space offers an eclectic, mis-match and yet fun vibe that ties in with the vintage furnishing and general knick-knacks. Creative wall art is scatted across various segments of the eating hall, including a beautiful painted tree with small extruding canvases that resembles leaves; whereas the other room contains old relics of once locked away history.
Coffee has consistently been supplied by roaster Di Bella Coffee. Di Bella Coffee has been in the coffee game well before there was such a thing as a ‘hipster lovin coffee freak’, with humble start-up beginnings in the suburbs of Brisbane. While not typically the stomping grounds of a dominant roaster company, with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck Di Bella Coffee has become one of Australia’s recognisable coffee roaster brands. My long black [$3.50] had dark notes of chocolate and aromas of tobacco with an overall subtle and yet enjoyable caffeine kick.
A cafe operating as a social enterprise does run the risk of having the stigma that the food offerings may not be up to the Melbourne standard. Yet, the menu options and food presentation at Kinfork will immediate rebut this statement. Kinfork takes a fresh and relax approach to food with the help of its strong relationships with local suppliers who provide fantastic seasonal produce. The menu offers wholesome food with a healthy dose of culinary ambition to create excitement and individuality with each dish.
Not being the first time The Modern Con has visited Kinfork, I have a soft spot for the avocado smash before heading into the office. There is always something slightly different with their smash, be it the introduction of kale or fresh micro herbs that offers an uniqueness to the dish. This time my friend Derya had the AVOCADO SMASH Spring Peas, Meredith Goat’s Feta, marjoram, lemon, micro herd add 63° egg and had thoroughly enjoy the texture of the spring pea mashed with the avocado.
It was a surprising chilly Spring morning, and so I made the most of the mild weather by ordering CHORIZO CHILLI BEANS Parmesan cheese w Dench Bakery toast [$15]. This dish was definitely the belly warmer I was looking for with a rich and delightful tomato texture. The black beans with the generous pieces of chorizo mixed with the creamy tomato sauce (thanks in part to the Parmesan cheese) were superb on the palate and left with a pleasant hint of chilli. Don’t let the size fool you as a decent hunger level is needed to complete this dish.
Kinfork is a CBD cafe that has the right fundamentals and a large social heart. The team are extremely generous with their time and equal show it by genuinely being helpful and approachable. Most of all, Kinfork space is unique to its corporate location and offers a relaxing environment that’s complemented with great food and coffee. All this with the profits being circulating into social projects and charities – it gets our tick of approval.
Mon – Fri: 7am – 3pm
Sat – Sun: Closed
673 Bourke St,