Cafe Kino

Located right in the centre of Stokes Croft, Cafe Kino is a non-profit organisation, meaning that any money made by the cafe goes back into improving the experience for both customers and staff. A sign above the tills proudly states, Kino’s vision is ‘creating inspiring safe places to cultivate community cooperation and cake.’ Kino wonderfully illustrates Bristol’s reputation for independent businesses and strong community involvement.

Although it all sounded amazing on paper, Cafe Kino has always seemed something of an enigma to me. I am potentially the furthest person from being a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. However, to challenge my personal conceptions surrounding vegan food, I decided to visit. The cafe serves an array of breakfasts, cakes, smoothies, lunch and dinner options. I chose the Spicy Burger and, through intrigue, added vegan bacon and cheese. I added curly fries and sweet potato fries as my sides. All washed down with a pint of organic Orchard Pig cider. The total came to £13, an incredibly fair price amongst the world of deluxe burgers and expensive pints. ​

The burger really took me by surprise. Being a staunch meat eater, I will admit that I had very set prejudices of what vegan food would be like. I expected it to be fairly dry and tasteless, and to be honest, slightly depressing food. However, my preconceptions were rapidly quashed. The burger was absolutely delicious, and I didn’t feel at all like I had been offered a budget substitute to a beef burger. In fact, I didn’t miss the meat. The burger was just spicy enough to be enjoyable, not too much to blow my head off. The vegan cheese was also surprisingly good, and I couldn’t tell the difference between that and normal cheese. The vegan bacon however was slightly a bit dubious. Although it satisfied my intrigue of what vegan bacon would be like, I think that to find a good bacon substitute may be near impossible. The sweet potato fries and curly fries were also highly enjoyable and made for a wholly unique meal.

Another dish we sampled was the Kino falafel which was also very enjoyable. The falafel was nicely cooked, sided with pitta, hummus and tahini. It came in at £6, and was definitely a plate worthy of a higher price. Perhaps what most surprised me most about the food was how full and satisfied I was left at the end; always a sign of a decent meal.

Perhaps I should take back how quick I have been to judge vegan food, and Kino is a brilliant example of tasty and healthy food at such fair prices. Although not quite enough to turn me into a Vegan, I can’t wait to return to try some more of the menu. ​


Co-founders Ben Davies and Vicky Norman