I do a lot of eating out for work, and I've gotta admit: sometimes I get jaded. But every so often I uncover a little gem that takes me out of the usual cookie-cutter Melbourne cafe funk and surprises me. This humble local in an out-of-the-way pocket of Northcote has been a welcome recent example of this.
Cafe Kalimba (named after the West African thumb piano) is the creation of a lovely couple called N'fa and Alice - both of whom share a passion (and talent) for music, as well as a common Creole heritage and a love of good food.
It's the neighbourhoody, family-run vibes and the thoughtful Creole influence on the menu that makes this place something special, and much of the food offering is centred around the wonderfully light, buckwheat waffles they specialise in. Yes, they're delicious. And yes, you should go there and eat them.
Can't choose? Do what I did and take N'fa's lead with suggestions. You might end up with the tasty 'red eggs' (poached eggs covered with a rich tomato concasse, served on a pair of herb-flecked, savoury waffles - pictured below) or the bangin 'cochon dingue' (a 12-hour pulled pork slider where slider buns make way for those awesome green savoury waffles). Both were winners.
Alice and N'fa are parents to two beautiful little boys, so they get that cafes should be kid-friendly too - especially in this neck of the woods. There's a special kids' menu, with down-sized versions of waffles and a few other options.
Shop 8, 57 Victoria Road, Northcote.
Open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat 8.30am-4pm.