Walking around the streets of Partick on Saturday, I felt that familiar sense of unease that comes with knowing you’re about to dine alone. Will you get strange looks from families and couples? Will the staff pity you for eating alone? Most people are more than happy to sit in at a fast food outlet to grab a quick lunch, but you’re in and out in a flash, and there’s something slightly different about making a conscious decision to enjoy a meal alone. On this particular day, I was out and about in the west end, feeling peckish and without a dining partner and I thought to myself, I can slink off to Subway and grab an unfulfilling sandwich, or I can try somewhere new and embrace eating alone.
This led me to Kaf Coffee, an establishment whose Instagram account I had been drooling over for what felt like months. This tiny café specialises in quality, fresh coffee and delicious brunch and lunch dishes, along with a beautiful array of freshly made cakes and bakes. The seating inside is limited, but in this case my lack of a dining companion worked to my advantage and I was able to grab the last stool at the counter to the right of the café.
Despite the heat, I ordered some fresh mint tea as I looked over the menu, which ranges from their signature Scandi plates to sandwiches, gyros and the main reason for my visit: babka French toast. In case you’re unaware, babka is a yeasted brioche dough that is rolled, twisted and filled before baking, and is Jewish in origin, according to the glossary of terms on the menu! The babka is further enhanced by being sliced and given the full French toast treatment and loaded with either sweet or savoury toppings.
On this particular Saturday, there were three options available; two savoury and one sweet. I have to say, I was sorely tempted by the ‘eggs benny’ version, with manchego, chorizo, morcilla sausage crumb, two soft boiled eggs and hollandaise, but me being me, my sweet tooth took over and I ordered the sweet ‘lemon’. This babka was filled with pistachio frangipane and paired with lemon curd, berries and cream and it was a wonder to behold.
At first glance, it looks like one very intimidatingly thick slice of bread, but as soon as you put fork to plate, the bread tears apart easily (it’s been twisted and rolled, remember!), although it’s still a hefty portion. The bread itself had the sweetness of brioche, paired with the nuttiness of the pistachio frangipane, but the sharpness of the lemon curd and the fresh strawberries and blueberries evened everything out into mouthful after mouthful of pure food joy. A further scattering of roughly chopped pistachios add crunch, while a scattering of fresh mint leaves adding bursts of that fragrant flavour every so often. I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t finish it, sometimes I still think about that morsel of brioche left on my plate and feel a bitter sting of regret.
Throughout my stay, the small team of passionate staff were incredibly friendly but unobtrusive, and my meal, plus my tea, came to a reasonable £10.70. The only thing I probably missed out on was the experience of their freshly brewed coffee. As I’m not a coffee drinker, I was more than happy with my tea, but if you are a fan of caffeine, from what I hear it’s definitely worth ordering yourself one.
On the way out of Kaf, I couldn’t help but let my eyes drift to their cake counter by the front window, which contained a whole range of delicious looking treats, and catered to a range of dietary requirements, from nut-free to gluten-free. This wee gem is another one that deserves to be on the list of Glasgow greats when it comes to beautiful brunch dishes, great coffee and a small but passionate team.