Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kofi Beans, Croydon by Big Fil

Being located in a distant part of town, from me and Snooze anyway, normally means that Ms No Meat needs to travel for at least an hour to join us for a weekend catch-up.  Every now and again though we do travel out past Ringwood to join her and sample some of what's available in the outer Eastern suburbs. 

On this particular weekend we were invited to visit with her one of the better regarded cafes in the Croydon/Ringwood area, Kofi Beans.  It was somewhere I'd thought about visiting for a while and was quite happy when MNM suggested a Sunday lunch here, and overall thought it was a good local café.  The main issue (other than how long it took to gain staffs' attention), all our mains were fine without anything demanding a return visit.  Sometimes it's just tough to stand out in the Melbourne café scene.

When you enter Kofi Beans it has a bit of a buzz to it.  It's obviously very popular with the local crowd and if MNM hadn't made a booking there's no way we would have been able to walk in for our Sunday lunch, particularly with a larger than normal group of us on the day (MNM, Snooze, Ms Ruby Grapefruit, a friend of Ruby and I).

One of the reasons MNM chose Kofi Beans was because it offered her a range of vegetarian options, including the chickpea felafel with roasted cauliflower, quinoa and seed tabouleh, tahini labne and toasted Turkish bread.  Best part of this dish was the moist and flavoursome falafel, which was nicely complemented by the tabouleh salad.

Snooze went for the baked beans which she described as fine without being especially impressive, solid rather than outstanding.  The beans retained good texture when at too many places they end up overcooked into a fairly tasteless mush.  The addition of a tangy (feta?) cheese added body and strength to the dish, and the poached eggs were nicely done.

To make sure she preserved space for something sweet, Ruby ordered the Harira Soup, a spiced soup with chickpeas and lentils, yoghurt and toast.  Ms Ruby described it as very tasty, and appreciated the chilli hit that came with it.

My own choice was the lamb shoulder, served as an open gyros in style.  The lamb was slow cooked, very tender and quite flavoursome.  The accompanying salad was a little unusual, through the addition of mint.  A respectable dish although I do remember at the time expecting a little more given it was noticeably more expensive than the other dishes.

By this stage we were all fairly full, but we were still interested in trying the cakes.  Eventually we chose three to share - the lemon tart, the frangipani and the chocolate cake.  The lemon tart was generally considered the best of the three, although I prefer a more tart flavour than its soft lemony sweetness.

My favourite was the slightly gooey chocolate cake, which was actually lighter and less dense that it looked at first glance.

Not that the frangipani wasn't a good cake in its own right, slightly crumbly and the accompanying berries adding a nice sweetness.  In fact I did think the cakes overall were better than the mains.

All in all a fairly good option in a shopping strip where not much else really appealed.  The fit out is interesting and the staff were friendly but it does have a few things which could be improved.  The cakes were good and some thought had been given into designing the mains, but taste-wise they were more in the respectable camp, and felt a little pricey for what they were. 

Staff too, while friendly, seemed a little disorganised and overwhelmed dealing with a busy Sunday lunch crowd.  Although things could be improved as it stands for me would put Kofi Beans a rung or two below the top Melbourne Cafes.

Food - 7.5
Ambience - 7.5
Service - 6
Price - 6.5

137-139 Main Street
Croydon VIC
Tel: (03) 9725 3339

Kofi Beans on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

We went for lunch there Sunday ,lovely garden , nice big table when we moved to it before food was served . Two had the soft taco dish . Tasty but was disturbed that it was served on bread boards! Unhygenic !! & my daughter's simple dish of smoked salmon on sourdough not served until she went into kitchen to see if it had been forgotten! Eventually served after everyone else had fiinished. On paying this dish was dropped from bill, & I did tell them about the disquiet I had about serving food on wooden boards ,. It might be trendy but it's unhygenic for public food service,

EatAndBeMerryCrew said...

Hi Anon, sorry to hear that your experience wasn't the best. At least they were nice enough not to charge you for the tardy smoked salmon. We've seen quite a few places that serve food on wooden boards... personally, I think they're only a slightly bit better than those places that serve food on plastic trays that have clear knife and fork marks (from all the past diners) on it...ew!

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