16 May 2024

Griffin Plaza cafe known for Melbourne roasted coffee adds bahn mi to menu

| Oliver Jacques
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Couple outside their cafe

Daniel Lowe and Carmen Leong run Kami Coffee, which also does bahn mi. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A new cafe in Griffin Plaza that has received rave reviews for its Melbourne roasted coffee has now added Vietnamese baguettes (bahn mi) to its menu.

Daniel Lowe, owner of Kami Coffee, comes from family well known in the Griffith dining scene. His parents owned Chinese eatery Baby Chopsticks and his aunt Susie O’Donnell ran a cafe named after her on Ulong Street.

Having worked in family restaurants all his life, he took the plunge alongside his wife Carmen Leong.

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The couple opened Kami Coffee just before Christmas in 2023. ‘Kami’ means ‘we’ in Malay, Ms Leong’s first language.

In April, the couple started selling bahn mi, a crispy Vietnamese roll made with meat, pickled vegetables, pate and chilli.

“I usually do pork belly at home,” Ms Leong said. “Everyone tells me it’s so good, so I thought why not put it in a roll. We make the pate here too.”

In addition to crispy pork belly, Kami Coffee also serves barbecue pork and honey soy chicken bahn mi.

Bahn mi

A bahn mi at Kami Coffee. Photo: Supplied.

The Vietnamese favourite has always been hard to find in Griffith. Pop-up eatery Kiara’s Kitchen was serving it every Wednesday, though this week announced it had temporarily stopped doing so until further notice.

Kami Coffee had already gained a reputation for its cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes, which have received positive reviews all over social media. Ellen McLean, chef at Station 4 Cafe, describes it as the best coffee she’s had in the Riverina.

“My wife and I love coffee and we really wanted to get that right,” Mr Lowe said.

“We went down to Melbourne and tried 30 different coffee blends before deciding on one we liked the best.”

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Kami serves Axil Coffee, which is from a specialty coffee roaster, cafe and wholesaler that originated in Hawthorn.

Axil is best known for its barista Jack Simpson, who won the title of the nation’s best barista at the Australian Coffee Championships 2024.

“Jack Simpson came up here and helped us set up everything,” Mr Lowe said.

The Griffin Plaza cafe also serves handmade donuts, which come in flavours such as chocolate, strawberry, creme brulee, salted caramel and Nutella.

“We want to offer something a bit different,” Mr Lowe said.

“I’ve taken in a lot of experience from my family. My auntie Susie helped us set up and my wife is an accountant, so that really helps with invoices and stocktake. We put in a lot of hours but I hope people will like our cafe.”

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