Kafkas started life on Main Street and quickly became one of the most popular coffee shops in the area. For that reason, I never bothered getting around to reviewing it. Everyone had already included it in every top ten list, so I didn’t want to ruin their google rankings with my pernicious prose, my sexy similies and something that sounds good with the word metaphor.
But finally, there’s a Kafka shaped opening in our lives, because they just set up shop on Great Northern road… and it’s beautiful inside.
Cortado – $4
Beans: Kafkas House Roast
One of the things I’ve always liked about Kafkas, is that they have a really great darker roast espresso. There’s a bite to it, which is going to please those that like Italian style drinks, but it’s light enough that you get some interesting caramel and honey notes out of it. My cortado was exactly that, with some perfectly steamed milk on top. The flavour balance was great.
Pour Over – Ethiopian – $3.50
Beans: Kafkas House Roast
First off, bonus points for the price! The drink itself had some lighter, fruity notes that got more pronounced as it cooled, as well as great body and texture. This is not a super light, acidic Ethiopian roast, but more of a well rounded sessionable beverage.
Other options include various teas and some cold drinks, including this beautiful Watermelon Lemonade, with freshly squeezed lemons:
Chermoula Chicken Baguette – $9
Take note, other coffee shops, this was served with chicken thighs. Down with dry chicken breasts, we want fat and skin!
The meat was tender and packed with flavour, the house pickles and carrots added a textural crunch and the arugula, despite being the daftest of all the leaves, was used sparingly so it didn’t overpower the sando with its pepperyness.
Glory Bowl – $12 + Poached Egg – $2
This was the very definition of witchcraft – no matter how much I ate, the amount of food in the bowl stayed the same.
Seriously though, this was a huge pile of food, with generous portions of quinoa, tomato, brussel sprouts, avocado, kale, salad and, I believe, sauerkraut. This was topped with a perfectly poached egg. The flavours worked well together with the egg yolk and avocado adding a richness to the whole dish that would usually only be possible with fatty dressings.
In addition to the above there are various breakfast sandwiches, such as the pork steak featured below:
On my three visits, I was lucky enough to catch Kafkas at a quiet time of day, so I had the staff all to myself to bore with my stupid nonsensical yapping. They were all friendly and welcoming, didn’t once ask me when I was going to shut up and they all laughed at my crap jokes. Seriously though, all the staff were excellent, they knew about their product lineup, making suggestions on what I should eat, based on my last order.
The venue is huge, with about 30 seats downstairs and another 20 or so on the mezzanine level upstairs. They’ve built a light and airy space, with a huge wall mural showcasing a larger version of the paint job they have on their Main Street location. There’s a large communal table upstairs.
On paper, it seems like it’s in a bit of a no mans land, but it’s surrounded by new offices being built, as well as Emily Carr University. It’s got a bike lane that runs right outside of it, an Evo station down the road, free parking on site as well and on the street as well as VCC Clark Skytrain about a 5 minute walk away. There’s also a Mobi station very close.
The bathrooms are not owned by Kafkas so I’m not adding a score for them… which is good, because they aren’t great. If you’re as comically tall as me, you can actually peer down into the cubicle from the urinal! For a design school, they really dropped the ball on loo-design! I’m sure if Kafkas had a say, it’d be much different.
Kafkas has captured the great vibe of their Main Street location and recreated it in a bright, stylish and beautiful venue. You’re going to get the same great service you’re used to as well as the same great coffee, only this time you’re going to be able to do cartwheels between the tables, because the place is huge.
Don’t actually do cartwheels though, that would be strange. I’m not sure why you think that’s appropriate anyway… it’s probably why everyone talks about you behind your back.