In Short: That distinctive yellow awning signals that you’ve arrived at Kepos Street Kitchen. Quality and flavour are hallmarks of the experience, with generous plates of food that take diners on a journey through the Middle East. If you are struggling to choose, because honestly you will be spoiled for choice, I would recommend starting with a Falafel for lunch.
I still recall it like yesterday. It was a bright weekend morning and we rolled the dice, parked the car, and loaded Sammi into the pram. She was then two and half years old and walked up to the path to Kepos Street Kitchen. The year 2012, and Kepos Street Kitchen was hot! We sheepishly pushed our tractor of a pram in and asked if we could put our name down.
Back then, the crew were just as accommodating as they are now, and we eventually settled with the rest of Sydney and learned how special Kepos Street Kitchen was. Zoom to autumn 2019 and we are back to the same space in Redfern. Kepos popularity still has not waned, with a line to get in, but for this mid afternoon visit, it’s a brief wait. We shuffle past the delicious pastries and we find a place by the window.
Kepos is a simple, yet stylish space. White washed walls let the light bounce around to create a bright and relaxed atmosphere. There’s also seating outside that is perfect to take in the afternoon sun. A Middle Eastern menu continues to be championed and frankly, it’s hard to surpass. A chef’s hat is an affirmation!
A late Saturday night, meant we needed an afternoon pick me up. I decided to try out Mary’s Bloody Crazy. Now if that mocktail does not induce a giggle not sure what could. It is presented deconstructed with one cup filled with peppers, black olives and herb infused ice. A separate jar of tomato juice is at the ready to make the perfect rejuvenating elixir. Traditionally, a Bloody Mary is a tomato juice-based cocktail with hints of vodka and spices in it. The version at Kepos Street Kitchen is served sans vodka but that doesn’t diminish its quality. What I love about the Bloody Mary cocktail is its predominantly savoury flavour, combined with a kick of spice from the tabasco and pepper that tickled the back of my mouth.
Mavis was in a mood for fish, and she had her eyes on the Tunisian style seared tuna from Kepos Street Kitchen’s menu. The presentation of the dish was elegant and had her wanting to dig right in. Creamy potatoes, crunchy tomato, cucumber and delicious roasted eggplant forms the base on the plate, while 4 generous slices of tuna take centre stage at the top of the dish. The tuna was lightly seared on the outside and pink on the inside and lightly seasoned with salt. It paid homage to the freshness of the fish, and with each mouthful you are rewarded with wonderful fresh tuna flavours, mingled with the richness of the potato salad below. A spectacular dish with amazing flavours.
Kepos Street Kitchen is renowned for its Middle Eastern flavour and there is no dish that says Middle Eastern more than Falafel. I was not going to let the opportunity pass me by to audition the falafels at Kepos . Falafel for lunch has the look of a greatest hits of the Middle East. Joined by the bulbous falafels was hummus, labne, pickled chilli and cucumber. The falafels were super crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with an explosion of flavours, while the hummus was smooth and creamy with a touch of texture and spice from hazelnut dukkah. It was the perfect dip for the two slices of Brickfields bakery bread. Adding to the symphony of flavours are little touches of brilliance from the pickled chilli, juicy olives, and tomatoes. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Coco and Viner Sammi loves her fried chicken, so we thought we would order the Southern Fried Chicken for her to try. The chicken is buttermilk-brined, crunchy on the outside, soft, tender and moist on the inside with a delicious flavour that is associated with a really good Southern Fried Chicken. Kepos Kitchen took the classic dish and put their own style on it by using a chermoula mayo with Middle Eastern flavours. The richness of the dish is also nicely balanced with an addition of a slaw, nicely sandwiched between two soft buns. Finally, no Southern Fried Chicken dish is complete without a side of crunchy golden fries. This is the perfect kind of food for Sammi and it definitely has her tick of approval.
Finally, to cool off, father and daughter shared a Homemade Lemonade. A tall glass with wedges of lemon and sprigs of mint was the perfect counter to the spices that came before. It’s zesty and refreshing and, like everything else on the menu, it is the little touches that elevates this drink up a couple notches.
Kepos Street Kitchen demonstrated again on our visit that time has not dulled their ability to deliver the finest café experience in the city. Each dish was beautifully plated, bursting with colour and freshness. Even more impressive were the flavours, textures, and liberal use of the spicing. In a city that has an influx of eateries opening every week, we love returning to spaces that continue to deliver quality almost a decade on.