Photos: Peter Tarasiuk
If you enjoy a nice cableknit sweater with your latte, then Min Lokal is for you. The venue is located in the once infamously dodgy suburb of Collingwood, which nowadays houses the few remaining artists who haven’t fled to cheaper Footscray, along with hip professionals and the pram patrol. For anarchist types this is a sad fact, but the result is a vibrant café that satisfies both the trendsetters and the trendseekers.
Suave and casual, boasting an exemplary brunchy-lunchy menu and some damn fine baristas, Min Lokal is as busy as an industrious beaver. And deserves to be. Brought to you by another ass-kicking Kiwi, Tim Roberts (man but they’re good at this aren’t they?), the coffee is from the cool Supreme team. The chai is brewed, and the food is as delightful as the servers’ moustaches.
Take, for example, their humble sandwiches. Rather than being great slabs of scantily clad focaccia, they are served on freshly sliced sourdough with fillings including smoked trout and hot salami and roasted pepper drizzled with vinegar and oil, New York style. The appeal? They’re only $8 and are assembled fresh to order. It makes the world of difference.
Other winning dishes are the warm salads such as Moroccan chicken and date sausage with citrus almond couscous, and a texturiffic haloumi number with chorizo, chickpeas and witlof. As with almost every dish on the menu, care has been taken to balance the salt and stodge of café classics with an acid element of yoghurt, citrus, tomato or vinegar, which leaves your mouth feeling lean and clean.
The only problem is that too many people are liking this, so weekend service can be achingly slow; the regulars come prepared, packing books, laptops and intellectually stimulating friends. Even if you’re not armed for a wait, once you’re set up at one of the three large communal tables (or are getting your sun on in the courtyard), the wait is more than bearable.