Monday, 19 January 2015

Café: Kahaila

It's all about the cake, the succulent density of red velvet is visually magnetic, catching reflected light in its dark window. Kahaila is gracefully reposed on a slightly overloaded street of neon and curry pushers. Within is bare bulbs and weathered wood, it has tropes with the trimmings. Further back inside skylighting and shaker hooks set a tone that airy and pleasingly domestic. It is, however, the heart of Kahaila that compels this diner to return, repeatedly fascinated that it pursues generosity with such emphatic but understated vigour. The landscape of coffee just now is deafeningly Ethical, with attention given largely to the vital, if intangible, origins of the beans and minimising the exploitation involved. Widely underrealised, however, is the social potential for phenomenal good that is untapped in the space, labour, product and culture that the coffeeshop itself involves. Pay a living-wage, sell Luminary's baking, host charities, employ charity workers, give your stuff away. Coffee shops are a vehicle for social change if they want it, through the narrative they tell. Theirs is the zeitgeist, it is theirs for the changing. Coffee punters as I are longing for a story to believe in.

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