Sad good byes

If the lime green décor doesn’t draw you in, the smell of Campos coffee will.

Tucked away in Commonwealth street Surry Hills, Kafa takes its caffeine seriously. Once you’ve found your way inside, it’s worth staying for the food. At breakfast; soy and linseed toast, or porridge crowned with sliced banana and brown sugar. Then there are the usual suspects of eggs and avocado or fruit bread with ricotta and leatherwood honey; elevated to near art by careful hands and prime produce. At lunch you’ll find big bap rolls crammed with chorizo, goats cheese, rocket and roast tomato or poached chicken, fennel-slaw and butter lettuce.

For the fashionistas who frequent from the nearby garment district sandwich varieties also come as salads, masquerading as treasure troves in oval bowls. Beneath wisps of smoked salmon, or chunks of chorizo and roasted vegetables are hidden bonuses of cornichons and capers and nuggets of tomato and avocado. While the welcome is as warm as the sun that slants through to the communal table and the food impeccable, the real artistry at Kafa comes in cups and here it’s the coffee that will keep you coming back- even if you’re nowhere near the neighborhood.

Kafa Shop 2
216 Commonwealth St
Surry Hills 2010 NSW

Kafa was where I’d go for an escape. Once a week at least I’d run away from my occasionally questionable day job, down the hill, through the back streets and have a smoked salmon salad, or chicken sandwich with fennel slaw with two of my oldest friends. One; the architect would usually have a toasted chorizo sandwich. The other; a graphic designer would usually have a salad, or something on soy and linseed. Needless to say, with both of their professions being of the aesthetic nature, they dress a bit cooler than I do.

Last Thursday with no warning we all found out it was the end. Our designated date restaurant would be no more.

Kafa would be closing that very day, having been taken over by the big bad Bodega and their mural of the bull who live next door.

Will Bodega be opening a bar to hold the patrons who haven’t managed to corral their entire group of seven at the door, bang on six pm, so as not to have to wait for the second sitting? It seems logical and similar to what their Surry Hills neighbour and no-booking compatriot Vini has done.

Or will they be opening a lunch time South American diner? Or…?

The excitement of any possibilities doesn’t dim my disappointment.

I love Bodega and as long as I put enough thought into my outfits, nearly feel cool enough to go there. But in this world, sometimes you have to choose sides.

Kafa- for now I’m on yours- where ever you are.

I always felt cool enough to play with you- no matter what I put on that morning.

We’ll miss you.


It was also a weekend for sad goodbyes. The Cheese Room in Alexandria also shut its doors last Thursday. The coffee was good, the homemade plum cake delightful,the morning croque monsieur sometimes exactly what you needed on a Sunday and its location, a spry five minute walk from our home was unbeatable.

I hear the cheese was pretty good too.

  1. I second your goodbyes to Kafa. I have been going there alone every couple of weeks for the chicken salad and the comfortable ambience and was most upset to note today that it was closed and the windows covered with newspaper. I went to go there last week with a friend and we thought it strange that they were only doing coffee that day – it must have been the last day. Sad days indeed.

  2. Something has reopened at the site of The Cheese Room – and it looks like it’s still called The Cheese Room ? Any ideas (Sept 08)

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