|Luscious and delicious - the well marinated pork belly served with an Onsen poached egg and a waffle.|
The Australian food scene has leapt by bounds especially in the past dozen years. Fusion, innovation and boldness seem to be the common thread in striking new offerings in cuisine, setting and taste. It seemed inevitable - the country is located in the Asia-Pacific, a region with swirling flows of demographics, cultural inspiration and inter-mingling of produce and styles.
Cuisine is never static, driven by the requirements of greater movements of different tribes, powered by a richer customer base looking for variety and transformation. When East met West in the past, for example in the period of Western colonialism, creativity flourished, new and old ingredients raised expectations and opportunities translated into fascinating options.
I was told of the possible interplay of cooking styles and ingredients in this cafe restaurant sited in the hub of an emerging new world in the north-west of Sydney. Many migrants with a south-east Asian background live in this residential corridor. If I am direly looking for traditional cooking, I would not come here to KIN, but I am looking forward to creativity and making the best blend of what the modern world can offer. I read the menu - hmm, Asian sandwiches, beef Rendang on a burger ( Bao Cheeka Wow Wow) and durian or palm sugar Affogato - they immediately caught my eye. No heavy meals, all are apparently brunch and breakfast items. Oh ya, toasted brioches, my favourite, in the Sub-Marine.
|Congee with deep fried crullers, garnishings of shallots, pork floss, ginger , chillies and served on a wooden board. Photo Credit - Ms. Zoe Yu.|
The four persons in my group sat at one end of the community wooden table. There is an outdoor aspect with good ventilation in KIN, even if there is no outdoor seating. I felt as if I was in a mate's place and in a lounge with a high ceiling and wide open sliding door ways. I was fascinated with the counter and above the counter, with its carefully selected and placed items used in the open kitchen.
As with most contemporary cafes, industrial lighting lamps are utilised. Six months into operation, KIN already has a healthy base of customers, even in the early morning, particularly for train commuters as well. The burgeoning IT business hub of Macquarie Park is also a positive contributing factor. Coffee is a partnership with Reuben H and using the La Marzocco machines.
|Even on a weekday arvo, the customers dig in.|
Some names on the menu stood out - the BFF Burger, Snap Crackle Plop (chicken rice), No Lah (breakky with fibre and grain) and the daily special but changing Sambos. There were already some items not available by noon (well, KIN has been upfront by stating this on their menu), so a fan of this place will come early. Mushrooms are referred to as "Shrooms". I like the idea of changing sandwich fillings for the Sambos, providing an element of surprise and delight - a good strategy for regulars.
The Onsen egg is the ubiquitous offering (apart from the purple cabbage shreds) which accompany several of the menu dishes and perhaps underlining the cafe experience here. Call it the 63 degree Celsius thing or bathed egg, mine was served on top of a good looking waffle and increased the attractiveness on the plate. Gooey, runny, flavourful, fresh. It also came with the congee, which is perhaps the most traditional of KIN's current offerings, together with the Miso soup and coconut milk based Kaya spread. The Miso Yummy is better choice in flavour than the congee. In addition, there is also a good variety of teas, including iced options. We could watch one of the staff members preparing waffles fresh.
|Gula Melaka palm sugar infused ice cream with your Affogato.|
Our experience with the service was fast, friendly and satisfying. The mainly Gen Y table interaction crew showed energy, interest and engagement. I love the miniature bamboo board servers and the blue designed cups and plates. Servings tend to be on the small side, but larger sized dishes are indicated accordingly.
Does KIN live up to the fusion expectation on my part? It is hard to deny KIN's menu is currently a hotch potch of Asian, rather than extending too far beyond. Definite influences and recipes from Straits Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese, Italian and Korean inspirations. This may most probably echo the kinship ties with such cuisine for its owners, Uel and Shannelle Lim.
It feels core cosmopolitan, the kind of snacks and burgers for the urbanite busy. KIN appeals straight to the heart and palate of its target market.
I would say the Waffle Belly tops their menu in my opinion. The belly melts in my mouth and I must say a lot of thought has gone into the marinade, it is neither over sweet or salty and allows the inherent flavours of a good braising to come through in the served cuts. Waffle has usually been associated with maple or sweet syrup and this is a good twist on the combination in one plate.
|A well designed prep counter.|
KIN by US
Corner of Saunders Close and Herring Road
Macquarie Park, north west Sydney
5 minutes walk from Macquarie Station, Shopping Centre and University exit
Vehicle parking across on Herring Road for up to 2 hours
Opens everyday except Sunday, from 7am to 3pm
Tone - Eat and go or takeaway, and then go for some serious shopping at H & M