Amid the furore that surrounds Australia’s stance on refugees, in a small shopfront on Smith Street in Collingwood, a quiet revolution is going on. The Social Studio’s adjoining cafe, The Cutting Table, is a space that welcomes all of Collingwood’s and indeed, Melbourne’s culturally and socio-economically diverse residents to experience the tastes of East Africa.

This unassuming eatery is staffed by young refugees learning the kind of skills that would be far less accessible should a social enterprise like this not exist. Yet, while a sense of benevolence may bring you here, the menu will keep you coming back.

On offer is a selection of burgers and breakfast options with an African twist. The chicken burger – a free-range spiced chicken breast – is served with spicy ‘lovers’ sauce, a sweet and peppery concoction that is delicious with fresh salad and a Turkish roll. There are plenty of vegetarian options, including a fava-bean burger with free-range egg and fetta, a lentil burger and a tofu burger. Meat lovers can choose from two types of beef burgers and all burgers are served with a side of moreish home-style African potatoes. If you’re there for breakfast, a breakfast burger (vegan or vegetarian) or the usual suspects of muesli and toast are available.

While you digest, pop next door to The Social Studio shop for a range of fashion-forward, ethically made clothes. African Night is on the first Friday of each month from 6-10pm and includes a delicious banquet, Ethiopian coffee ceremony and live music and dancing – bookings are essential.

Updated: May 21st, 2018

We do not seek or accept payment from the cafes, restaurants, bars and shops listed in the Directory – inclusion is at our discretion. Venue profiles are written by independent freelancers paid by Broadsheet.