First Look: Kaffebar, The Junction’s new Scandinavian inspired cafe and eatery


Image: Darcy Streitenfeld

On Dundas West, just before the Junction’s sidewalks flood with tattoo-clad, stroller-pushing parents, a hip little gem has popped up east of Keele. Those not from the area might not know that, until recently, Keele acted as the longitudinal delineator between the hip, mature section of the Junction and the still-questionable portion of the ‘hood.

Into this geographic mix comes Kaffebar.

Kaffebar is a 350 square foot, six-seat cafe with an airy modern vibe that opened just over week ago. Upon entering the slick, minimalist space, the owner, Kim Samuelsen, is in plain view behind the impressively hand-weathered zinc bar (imported from Germany). The fabulous floors, however, are original, although they look Pinterest-ready. She’s surrounded by a flock of enthusiastic locals full of questions and comments about her smooth Brazilian espresso, scrumptious homemade Norwegian baked goods, and cool, metallic-toned interior design. And while Kaffebar’s design may scream Nordic nonchalance, Samuelsen’s demeanour with her patrons is warm and gregarious.

Kaffebar is Samuelsen’s fantasy come to fruition. Just four months ago, Samuelsen worked in finance at a boutique consulting firm in Yorkville. One afternoon while simultaneously procrastinating and day dreaming at her desk, she stumbled upon a Kijiji posting for a storefront which formerly housed a Harley-Davidson service centre. She viewed the space that very night, and immediately decided to bid farewell to the world of financial consulting. Shortly thereafter, she began renovations on the neighbourhood coffee shop of her dreams.

“You just can’t wait on things like this. This is the time and this is the place,” says Samuelsen.

Samuelsen’s zeal for her newfound vocation is made very apparent by the care she takes in hand baking all of Kaffebar’s delectable goodies. The countertop is teeming with fruity muffins and skolbrod (which translates to school bread), a doughy Norwegian treat with vanilla custard and shredded coconut ($2). There’s also a plethora of cookie options for the sweet-inclined, including chocolate chip, and gooey dark chocolate almond cookies ($1.50). For those disposed to dipping, there’s a sizeable jar of biscotti ($1 each). For further enticement, as if any was necessary, Samuelsen whips up some delicious Scandinavian style cinnamon buns on weekends to add to the brigade of baked goodness. Samuelsen’s cinnamon buns are much lighter and more delicate than your average Cinnabon, so they’re basically guilt-free.

Coffee-wise, Kaffebar pulls Big Bro espresso (Pilot Coffee Roasters), a Brazilian medium to dark roast with notes of citrus and almond, and a special Guatemalan dark roast, with rich notes of dates, vanilla and melon. Drinks range from one shot of espresso at $2.25 to a mocha at $3.75. All very reasonably priced indeed. They also sell the beans in bulk, should you want to take some home for later. Although her workhorse of an Italian espresso machine sure pulls a rich crema, so you might just want sit and sip that java perched on a Kaffebar stool.

All in all, Kaffebar offers great coffee, handcrafted baked goods, and a fresh, simple decor that Samuelsen sees as an extension of her own personal style. This cool and comfortable Scandinavian-inspired destination adds a much needed punch of hip to a decidedly desolate stretch of The Junction.

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