Life is sweet at Cafe Dolce KIG

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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In June, Thursday Food announced the imminent opening of Café Dolce's second location at Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG) on Spanish Town Road. On Monday, we decided to face the traffic brought on by road closures to get our lunch fix. It may have taken thrice as long to get there, but it was worth it.

Opened since mid-July, Café Dolce KIG is a welcomed addition to Spanish Road Town. Especially with the soul-crushing traffic that deters any of the strip's workers from wanting to do more than cross the road. Menu standouts include the bruschetta chicken panini, the power sammy, the buttermilk pancakes with bacon (yes, sometimes you just want breakfast for lunch) and the mezze rice bowl. The rice bowls are only available at Café Dolce KIG and Thursday Food was lucky enough to preview the southern chicken bowl that will be added to the menu shortly.

Café Dolce serves breakfast all day and this makes us happy. The power sammy combines eggs with spinach, cheese and tomatoes which are served on a fresh-from-the-bakery bun and is given some zip with a generous schmear of spicy mayo. The from-scratch buttermilk pancakes are springy and delicious and the bacon is fried perfectly. If you're one of those people for whom “but first, coffee” is a daily mantra, Café Dolce KIG has you covered. The iced coffee, mocha coffee frozay (chocolate and espresso blended with milk) and lattes are well-made and delicious.

The bruschetta chicken panini is the perfect sandwich. Fresh roasted chicken breast, basil pesto, mozzarella, chopped tomatoes and balsamic aioli are sandwiched between a fresh baguette and grilled to melted crunchy bliss. The mezze rice bowl comprises grilled chicken, yellow (turmeric) rice, garbanzo beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, parsley and garlic sauce for a filling nutrition-packed lunch. Call it the Chipotle effect, but rice bowls have become an increasingly popular lunch option. Leave it to Café Dolce KIG to bring the good international food trends to the local masses.

During the lunch rush, Café Dolce KIG carefully prepared a number of items for customers. Thursday Food can attest that the portions are value for money. Comparing the price, portion size and quality of ingredients on a North American scale, Café Dolce's meals are quite affordable. It would be easy to spend double on sandwiches and salads in Miami, New York, Atlanta, Toronto and London.

The sweet treats were irresistible. Chocolatey brownies are moist and topped with frosting and shaved milk chocolate. Plantain tarts are flaky with almost corner to corner filling. And Thursday Food is dead set on getting its hands on Café Dolce's banana bread recipe.

The staff at Café Dolce KIG is exceptional. Steered by manager Mario Brown, the team offers a first-world level of service. When the kitchen is backed up, the front-line members of staff check in with customers and give them regular updates on their orders. Want to order something not quite on the menu? No worries, they are glad to accommodate. Thursday Food tested this and had smoked salmon and chimichurri-like vinaigrette added to the superfood salad — kale, quinoa, carrot, cranberry, chia, flax and pumpkin seeds.

Seasoned restaurateurs will tell you that creating a successful dining concept is much more than preparing tasty food. Every touchpoint of the brand is important. From the cleanliness of the entrance to the first greeting; from takeout packaging to how the bill is presented; from décor to wait times — each thing matters. This matters, even more, when there's a highly anticipated opening of a second location. Getting to know co-principals Lisa and Kirk Chin, you'll quickly realise that they are three things — masters at branding, creators of dining concepts that are sure-fire hits and purveyors of delicious high-quality food. The Chins got it right with Fromage Bistro and Fromage Brasserie and all eyes were on them for Café Dolce's second location. Let's say this: they hit it out of the park, again.

Café Dolce KIG is located at 381 Spanish Town Road and is opened Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. The café is closed on weekends and public holidays.

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