Sam Holman, co-owner of Dibs (formerly known as The Black Lab Coffee Co), If You Say So, and Noir, didn’t plan to open another venue. If anything, he’d planned to take it easy; 2024 was meant to be “cruise control”, with the dual purpose of “getting my health back under control” and spending more time with family, he tells Broadsheet.

That was until Yolanda Van Houtte, owner of Drip, approached him. “She said, ‘I found this new spot in New Farm, come look at it.’ We saw the spot and I was like, ‘If there’s one person I’m going to open this with [it’s you], you’re the only one that’s going to bring me out of retirement.’”

A Cafe Called Kevin is the result. The Brunswick Street cafe is fitted out with warm greens, retro prints of vegetables, and lots of rattan, which reflects the venue’s farm-to-table concept. Holman and Van Houtte have even taken a step back from traditional suppliers with Van Houtte growing most of the produce at her off-grid paddock in Kurwongbah, not quite an hour’s drive north of Brisbane.

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“We’re having the real step from the get-go, right down to where I source my seeds – just trying to do it as ethically and as clean as possible,” Van Houtte says. “There’s just something very wholesome about being able to grow the produce that you will cook with and put onto someone’s plate. It feels more involved.”

With head chef Nelson Pierce (ex-Capulet & Co, Halo Ground) in the kitchen, the menu is chef-technical and produce-focused, but will read as simple and approachable. This season, expect summer semolina porridge with compressed blood plums; a fancier version of eggs Benedict called Eggs Benjamin, featuring kaiserfleisch (handcut smoked German pork belly), poached eggs, kimchi, and a seven-spice hollandaise; and a grilled swordfish burger with house-made broccoli pesto, a house tartare, and kipfler potato chips.

Holman says it’s about bringing the gastronomic culture of his other venues back, “while trying to push the menu to be approachable, like it’s a farmhouse menu with farm-fresh produce”.

Kevin will also be the first cafe to serve Black Lab’s coffee under its new brand name, Dibs, featuring the Eldorado blend and single origin on rotation for espresso and filter coffee. There will also be a reserve menu of frozen coffee available for home brewing.

When asked about Kevin’s new place in the community, Van Houtte says, “Kevin is the kind of place where we want people to come in and take a breath and slow down a little bit, try new things, and meet new people… Kevin is – we’re hoping – the cafe that everybody feels at home at.”
And just like home, Kevin’s door is always open thanks to the team’s promise to keep the coffee brewing 365 days a year.

A Cafe Called Kevin
726 Brunswick Street, New Farm

Hours:
Daily 7am–2pm

@acafecalledkevin