Kiki Beware Boutique Cafe

by Insiders Dunedin

Nestled among the city’s best retail stores is a beautiful cafe called The Finest Quality, Kiki Beware, Refreshment Room or just Kiki Beware for short. Kiki is a modern and forward thinking cafe that was established in July 2012 by owner Mel Norman. Originally situated in Roslyn next to the Friday Shop, Mel moved the cafe down the hill after three years there. Kiki channels the classic American diner with modern twist, infamous for its lamingtons, Vietnamese BBQ Pork Baguettes and home made sodas served in Agee preserving jars. Kiki services a diverse clientele, who know how to look after their tastebuds. 

Mel wanted to create a concept driven, design-led cafe like the cafes she had fallen in love with while living in Melbourne. After seven years working in the Melbourne fashion industry she decided to come home. A combination of these influences have helped to create the Kiki Beware story. From the outset Mel wanted to create a cafe that meant something to someone on personal level; the cafe needed a heart, soul and personality. Mel introduces us to the fictional character Kiki Beware. Kiki is a sweet, angelic 50s housewife by day, she bakes cakes, lamingtons and brandy snaps and tends to chores. However, by night Beware is her dark side, she lets her hair down and drinks martinis. (Mel tells me the dark side of the story is a hint toward future plans to open for nights, I’ll keep my fingers crossed). 

Elements of the story are carried throughout the retail branding. The American style 70s diner layout with booth seating further links to the story. Jeremy the taxidermy tahr alludes to Mel’s rural upbringing. The skull a reference to Kiki’s alter ego. The menu is fresh and small because of the size of the kitchen. However, doesn’t limit the quality of what is produced. The BBQ Pork Baguette is a Vietnamese-infused modern twist on the old pork sammie and is a hit with locals. Mel says she knows whether a customer is a local or not by what they order, all the locals know to go for the pork baguette! Another favourite that is perfect for brunch is the Green Eggs - a contemporary take on the classic eggs bene, it features free range poached eggs, ciabatta, mesclun, salted capers, haloumi topped with Hollandaise sauce. 

Mel wanted to create an interactive and personal customer experience, most of her customers she knows on a first name basis.  The open kitchen lets the customer see all the baking come out of the oven, the drinks being made and food being created while they drink their coffee at the bar or sip one of the amazing homemade sodas. Beautiful artworks created by local artists adorn the walls, their effortless simplicity compliments the overall design well. Everything has been thought out at Kiki and is their for a reason, the details are never spared here. 

With an entire page of the menu dedicated to drinks Kiki is the perfect place to come for a quick refreshment or settle down for some food. Kiki serves some of the best coffee in town expertly made by Sarah behind the machine serving Coffee Supreme. Or if you’re not a coffee drinker grab tea or a one of their amazing milkshakes that are served in old fashioned tin cups. 

If you’ve not been into Kiki yet, go there next time you need a pick me up, have a lunch date or meeting treat yourself to a soda and some food off the menu. You deserve it! If you have been to Kiki then I’m already preaching to the choir. 

Submitted by Jon Thom.


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