As the brunch plague engulfs Melbourne further and further every week, it can be tricky choosing a cafe to dine at. Next of Kin makes the decision process easier — for southsiders, at least.
Opening up on the quieter end of Glen Huntly Road earlier this year, the Elsternwick cafe is suave yet unpretentious, and it manages to nail the tricky combo while securing some much sought-after individuality too. Envision a culinary cafe built for food and design obsessives: you'll be hugged by lofty seats, overlooked by large copper bowl light fixtures, and a wall of bushy plants make you feel like you're dining in an urban rainforest.
While the menu is small, it oozes with modern, healthy variety. Sceptics of fish for breakfast, snap out of it. The cured ocean trout with sweet potato croquettes, pickled beetroot and fennel salad ($19) is one of the cafe's specialties. For something nimbler, the sheep's milk yogurt panna cotta ($11) with summer fruits is one to consider. The lunch favourite is spiced lamb shoulder tacos with manchego, chipotle mayo and lime ($18.50). And it's happy news for coeliacs and gluten-challenged folk too, as half of the menu options are gluten-free.
Of course, these creations haven't just appeared out of thin air. Next of Kin is owned by Nick Cocker of South Yarra's Cafe Gaia and headed by ex Press Club sous chef, Lance Mueller. Together they've created a menu that is both tasty and kindly considerate. Don't want the deliciousness to end? There's also a window of takeaway options including bagels, Bircher muesli, and a range of pastries you can carry on home.
Naturally, Next of Kin boasts specialty coffee, which comes straight from Fitzroy roasters, Proud Mary. And if coffee doesn't do it for you, a Mork Hot Chocolate, Remedy Kombucha or a cup of Prana Chai will. Otherwise, a spirulina, avocado, kale, Medjool date, brazil nut and — breath — organic orange juice smoothie may entice the nutritiously conscious. Seriously, there couldn't be any more superfoods packed into that thing.
Keeping to itself like the shy kid in class, Next of Kin is easy to miss from the outside. But don't underestimate it — because on the inside it's a talented freak, and it will blow you away if you just give it the chance.