It seems like just a week back that I had returned from London with memories of Speakeasy Espresso, talking beer crafting with Evin O’Riordain of The Kernel Brewery, and exchanging witty banter with the VW+BS team. I then found myself in Berlin drinking prosecco in the company of fashionables in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tent. The months flashed by and now I’m suddenly grinning up at the familiar winter sun shining out of a pale blue Brooklyn sky. I pick up my pace to the call of the Williamsburg coffee houses for my morning fix.
If memory serves, back in the day there was Marlows on the south side and El Beit by the Bedford L. These were your options for well-balanced potions and the several establishments in between served reliably burnt coffee. Now while those are still stubbornly there – minus a spot or two that burnt down – there’s apparently been a displacement in the Williamsburg coffee scene in favour of quality and crafted cups of caffeine. There’s the Californians swearing to Blue Bottle, the devout affinity to exposing the wall at Black Brick, and the Aussie kitsch at Toby’s Estate to name a few.
But an exploration further north into the old haunts uncovers the quad-combo coffeehouse, bar, kitchen, and design studio all under the name KINFOLK (not to be confused with the west-coast food-based magazine). Walking into the airy interior at 90 Wythe Ave., tattooer and coffee guru Thom Gastelum working the bar surprises me with cappuccino that’s well layered and pleasant to sip. The street facade floods the concrete-floored interior with plenty of light, creating a comfortably spacious and relaxed atmosphere for the coffee-aficionados like myself in perpetual hunt for wifi.
Also considering the proximity to the nearby Brooklyn Brewery, it’s only natural that the bar here at Kinfolk is stocked with Brooklyn Ale. Over a drink following the coffee, I manage to speak with the Swedish chef, known affectionately by the team as Freddy. He explains that the restaurant works on a flat-fee dining experience covering three courses. His team is comprised of fellow Scandinavians and though far from home, they’re gifting Brooklyn with an all-Scandinavian menu based on seasonal ingredients. Fire suddenly erupts in the kitchen and investigating, I find hay being torched allowed to add its earthy flavour to a smoked herring creation. In addition, potato soup, dumplings, wild oysters, meatballs, and Hay Ice Cream seem to be on the day’s menu.
I leave the kitchen to prepare its wonders. Sadly, I cannot stay to sample the dinner menu but from the expertise and the practiced ease with which the team works, no doubt the food being prepped will impress those dining here tonight. Bon appetit! And I’ll personally be returning to Williamsburg for a KINFOLK coffee.