Kith N Chow was an inadvertent stumbleupon as we darted between errands on the southside. We were just thinking that we should make a stop to ward off the hangry, and were actually heading in the general direction of Sunnybank, when the cluster of festive umbrellas, looking like a roadside market, caught our eye. A sign on one of the sides announced “Kith N Chow”, and recollections of having seen posts and pictures about it came to mind. And so it was that we found ourselves at this little suburban cafe.
Waitstaff saw us heading over from across the road, and greeted us as we approached. Now, it’s not as strange as it sounds, given that the eatery was the only thing open in that corner section, and the only thing we would have ostensibly be heading towards, so they weren’t just trying to get random passersby to come in.
After checking if we had been there before (we hadn’t), they ushered us to seats. We followed them under large umbrellas with fairy lights trailing beneath their canopies, to a long wooden table with bench seats. There was an assortment of other wooden chairs and tables in the space, all similar but different. The astroturf underfoot and myriad potted plants gave it a relaxed tropical tiki garden feel.
We were given menus, and the waitstaff explained that when we were ready, we should go up and place our orders and pay at the window of the food van at one end of the space. If we wanted coffees, they could be bought from a flower shop come coffee shop just around the corner.
The menu consisted of all day food items, and acai bowl and drink options in the form of juices and smoothies. The food options were perhaps a bit lighter and simpler than what we would usually hunt down for a brunch out, but we eventually decided on the Mixed platter and the Truffle mushrooms.
We were given a playing card as a place card after placing our order, and helped ourselves to iced water from a dispenser just opposite the van. There was a bowl of water at the foot of the counter for thirsty pets that might be accompanying their owners out.
Just one coffee was bought from the flower shop first, as a test, and sadly, it was over-extracted and bitter, so no more were had. (As a consolation, we decided to go to Sonder for drinks afterwards.) No photos of it, I’m afraid.
The Mixed Platter was quite the sight when it was served. There is a Mixed platter and a Vego platter option, and they come in serving sizes for two or three. We had opted for a serve for two, and it would indeed feed two people well. The menu promised toasted sourdough, beetroot hummus, fresh salad and kale dressing, K’n’C tomatoes, grilled haloumi, sweet creamy Greek yogurt, fried eggs, housemade maple granola, chorizo, shortcut bacon, and smoked salmon. That was indeed what was delivered, in a colourful sprawl across the serving board. The sourdough was lightly toasted, so it had crisp surface sections, but was still pleasantly chewy. The beetroot hummus, besides delivering a vibrant punch of colour to the platter, also contributed a fresh tartness, and just enough bitty texture to convince you that it wasn’t a factory produced puree. The K’n’C tomatoes were really cherry tomatoes with a light mayonnaise-like dressing on them, possibly with the aforementioned kale in bits. The haloumi was cooked just right, so it was still tender, and not rubbery at all. It had also been well washed so that it wasn’t too salty. The eggs were brown just on the side they had been fried, and still a clean white on top, so while you had the fried texture on one side, most of the egg white was still jelly-like, as though it had been poached or boiled instead. The yolks were not truly runny, but softly gooey, which worked fine. While the bacon slices were cooked so they were still soft instead of having crunchy edges, and it would have been nice to have another texture, they were alright as they were. The smoked salmon and chorizo were both relatively mildly flavoured, and although that meant that they didn’t overwhelm the other ingredients with smokiness or saltiness, a little more would have given the platter more punch. The granola and yoghurt were wisely served separately from the other components. Given that we don’t have that particularly frequently, it’s hard to compare it against others, but it was crunchy granola that was not overly sweetened. Altogether, it was like an upsized big breakfast, with all the bits to suit those who can’t decide what they want to have. To give them due credit, there was clearly attention to detail in the cooking of each of the components, so that nothing was overcooked or haphazardly done.
The Truffled Mushroom dish was next. Described on the menu as sauteed wild mushrooms, crispy fried shallots, fresh rocket, romano cheese, housemade truffle butter, and toasted sourdough, it was hard to go past it. It too was quite rustically yet prettily presented, the sourdough on one side of the plate, with piped mounds of the truffle butter on each slice, and cheesy mushroom mix in a heap occupying the rest of the plate. There was a variety of different mushrooms in that pile, of which we could discern, button mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, baby king brown mushrooms, and wood ear mushrooms. They were all well coated with cheese, and were a lovely salty, umami mix with different textures and mouthfeel from each type of mushroom. The sourdough toast slices were again touched just enough by the heat. We thought that they did a good job with the truffle butter. It actually smelled of truffle as your nose approached it, and you could see flecks of the mushroom through it, rather than the token occasional dot. The butter was melted and soft, and spread across the toast slices easily. The greedy ones among us would have said that there could have been more of the truffle butter..heck, who ever has enough truffle butter? There was enough for a thin layer across the toast slices without scraping too miserly though.
Overall, despite the limitations of preparing food in the back of a food truck and without a full kitchen (I think that that trailer is semi-permanently there), Kith N Chow did manage to deliver some tasty things. Their coffee supplier needs some work, but that is a separate issue.. The setting is kind of quirky but also quite cute, and as long as the weather outdoors is fine, it works well, apart from having to dodge the bolder patches of sun that scorch you between the gaps in the umbrella canopy. Might be less good in inclement weather.. The waitstaff, as mentioned, were friendly and helpful. It’s a nice little spot that’s worth a stop.
Setting: 1/2 (1.5 in good weather, 0.5 in less ideal weather, so sort of evens out.)
Price point: $12 to $16 for dishes more substantial than raisin toast. Platters $30 to $54, depending on whether you have the vegetarian or mixed option, and whether it is for 2 or 3 people.
Value: Not bad.
Address: 75 Clough St, Mount Gravatt
Phone: 0478 509 090
Website: Kith N Chow