Move over The Grounds, there’s a new go-to eatery in Alexandria and it’s called Kitchen by Mike and it really is the place to be.
If you had never been told about it, then you would never know the 13 month old Kitchen by Mike even existed. It’s hidden amongst industrial buildings, offices and warehouses, the cafe itself set up in a grand warehouse. There’s no signage out the front advertising Mike’s place, you purely have to be in-the-know.
You could walk straight past the warehouse and not even know inside is a cafe, overflowing with customers. It’s kind of like one of those underground hipster clubs, minus the hipster part, because being a hipster is so yesterday.
If that doesn’t excite you already, then how about this: Mike McEnearney, the Mike in Kitchen by Mike, is the former Executive Chef at Rockpool, the Michelin star restaurant in Sydney. So eating at Mike’s, is like eating at a Michelin star restaurant. Kind of. Hey, a girl can dream.
What’s even more exciting, if that still hasn’t gotten you, is that sharing the warehouse is the furniture company Koskela, which produces stunning contemporary and rustic Australian furniture. The Koskela furniture is designed and inspired by life and the things that surround us, such as a bed frame made out of thin tree trunks, with other products also being environmentally friendly and recycled timbers.
But back to Kitchen by Mike, because food’s always the best part. The warehouse’s natural lighting and spacious area creates a really comfortable and relaxed dining experience. There’s plenty of tables, many of them communal, but head there on a weekend and you’ll find yourself standing around with a plate brimming full of food with no place to put it. Even on a weekday the place is packed, so be prepared to wait.
Honesty is their policy, and with a rustic and plain dining setting, it’s all about the food, and there is plenty of it. The canteen menu is set daily, based on the seasons and what the chefs can source from the markets. Mike prides himself on the simple and fresh quality of the food he produces.
Order at the counter and let your senses do the choosing, with an array of salads, meats, vegetables and wraps to choose from. The down side of this service is that when Kitchen by Mike is busy and there’s a long (and I mean seriously long) line of people waiting behind you, you feel pressured to look, choose and order quickly. But you can’t be disappointed, because all the food looks and smells scrumptious.
I chose the zaatar chicken with spiced cauliflower and a cabbage, apple, hazelnut and buttermilk salad. The chicken was succulent and warm, the cauliflower not too spicy with a great punch to it. The sweetness and crunch of the apple and cabbage wholly complemented the creamy buttermilk flavour, creating a very fresh, gorgeous salad.
Their coffee is perfection, strong and full of flavour, but anyone could see that on a weekend, one can wait up to an hour or more for their takeaway coffee.
And the cakes, oh the cakes! I am chastising myself for forgoing dessert because the cakes and sweet treats just looked incredible and so decadent.
I’ll definitely be heading back for some more soon, why don’t you come join me?
Kitchen by Mike
85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery, 2018
(02) 9045 0910