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Kita is for us night owls

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Why go to bed when you can go to Kita?

On the corner of the increasingly cosmopolitan Narrabundah shops is a new café called Kita.

The word is Indonesian for “we” or “us” and the logo is an owl. The menu has a distinctive Indonesian flavour and there’s a heavy emphasis on coffee.

The whole concept makes sense when you read the opening hours. Kita opens at 9 pm at night and closes at 9 am the next morning.

So it really is for us night owls. Or shift workers. Or hungry post-big-night-outers, or students cramming for exams (free WiFi is on offer), or people who just like to get up early and have a brekkie with a difference. If you want to linger past 9 am, you’ll have to wait until Saturday or Sunday when trading hours extend until midday for breakfast and brunch.

Kita is the brainchild of the Young family – a small but successful pop-up street café operation behind the Indo Place – currently at the Old Bus Depot Markets.

Evi Young is the Indonesian-born chef whose spicy curries, beef rendang and fast but fresh nasi gorengs have earned a cult following. Gavin is in protective services who is desperate to give Canberrans – particular shift workers – more options for eating at odd hours. For too long they have been forced to rely on fast food.

Zac is their son, who has been forging a café management career as a coffee-obsessed barista and has been conscripted to come across to the Narrabundah set-up.

“I was a little sceptical at first about being open right throughout the night but our feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and I am feeling very confident the concept will work because there is nothing else in Canberra that compares.”

Zac has recently returned from cooking school in Bali where has been honing his skills.

The menu at Kita will be small but interesting. It will include the nasi goreng and mi goreng that flies out the door at their other venue, with a few western influences including sliders and soup and curries of the day. Sweet treats include banana fritters, martabak manis, and waffles with a twist. When the sun starts to break each morning, comforting toasties and egg and bacon rolls will be ready.

Campos coffee is available over the 12-hours Kita is open each day, along with an array of teas, exotic fresh juice combos and milkshakes.

The fit-out is pretty cute and successfully mixes mid-century furniture with a bounty of orchids, hanging pots and succulents. It’s like a cross between nan’s dining room a traditional Balinese warung.

The most striking feature is the floor of the corner café. Having once been an Indian restaurant, a post office and a supermarket, Zac said it was an interesting process of ripping up the old carpet and floorboards.

What emerged underneath was bright orange and black squared vinyl in various states of disrepair. But it was beautiful. So instead of ripping it up, Zac and his dad cleaned and lacquered it to a perfect retro shine. Now it matches the La Marzocco Coffee machine which is also bright orange.

Here are long sofas and velvet armchairs for settling in for a time, while there will also be a few tables outside to catch the sunrise or a cool summer’s evening breeze.

Kita opens next week and will operate between Wednesday and Sunday.

Zac is pleased to report there has been considerable interest from locals, and especially the crew around the corner at XO.

“They want a standing reservation on the couches after they close the restaurant.”

the essentials:

What: Kita
Where: 59 Boolimba Crescent Narrabundah (on the main corner at the shops)
When: Wednesday-Thursday 9 pm to 9 am, Friday-Saturday 9 pm to noon

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