When Time Out first wrote about Mike McEnearney it was because of his crazemazing pop-up dinners at French industrial design shop ici et la. He’s now taken up residence in Rosebery at design warehouse Koskela. You know the place – it’s where all those natural fibres and Swedish prints and educational wooden toys come together in expensive, tasteful harmony. The one where the shop assistants look at you askance if you dare to stroke the hand-woven lamps.
The warehouse has been converted into a big, open café with plans for a beehive and large kitchen garden out the front. You can ogle the furniture from your seat or watch as chef McEnearney pulls crisp, golden suckling pig out of the oven, and places it on a bench groaning with good things to eat. Here's how it works at Kitchen by Mike: you take your enamel plate and point to the things you want to put in your mouth. The chefs behind the counter pile your plate and you just pay for each item individually once you're ready. It's kind of like a big party buffet, only made by an ex-head chef of Rockpool
Have the pig with a little spoonful of mustard fruits on the side, and maybe a little salad. Crisp, tiny leaves of cos lettuce combined with a few Ortiz anchovies, a scattering of toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of dressing, make an instant, perfectly balanced Caesar at the hands of McEnearney and co. Or you might choose to load up on pieces of roast chicken, fragrant with butter and cinnamon, and a side of vegetables.
Aside from what’s on the plate, there’s also a small fridge in the café filled with things to take home and make for yourself, including meats from boutique suppliers Feather and Bone
; Marook Farm biodynamic yoghurts; Burrawong free range chickens; and Papanui eggs – fresh from those happy hens who get driven around the Merriwa property in an old converted school bus so they never have to peck in the same place twice. You can really taste the freedom at $11 a dozen.
Still hungry? Hit the counter again for a piece of Jaffa cake, or maybe a little walnut cakelet topped with a blob of apple jam. We like the big bowls piled high with feather-light meringues that sit on the counter, flavoured with rosewater and pistachio. They also pull a decent coffee, from WA boys Five Senses. If you’re heading here for lunch (it’s breakfast, brunch and lunch only folks) they also offer a couple of boutique beer selections. Kitchen by Mike also stocks those amphoras of wine by the Natural Selection Theory guys, as well as their new range of cider. Or how about a little bottle of milk, instead?
The best news of all is it’s not expensive to eat here, despite the serious price tags on the furniture at the back of the warehouse. Grab a seat along with some of the best café food in town.
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