The Village of St. Jacobs is a beloved destination steeped in history and set in a charming location along the Conestoga River. This small community is known for original arts and crafts and a myriad of stores featuring home decor, clothing, jewellery, accessories, gourmet foods, antiques and gift shops.
Five times to be exact. On the fourth visit, I found Kokken Village Cafe.
A Danish inspired cafe serving traditional open-faced sandwiches, pastries, locally inspired grilled panini sandwiches, soups and salads.
It was July 2011. I had promised myself to be back for a review but unfortunately, that did not happen till a year later. Well… I always get too tempted by the delicious-ness of the farmers market and am stuffed before I even get the chance to drive down to the village! Pardon my lack of self-control in face of delightful farmers market treats (a.k.a. apple fritters).
Sigh, troubles of having too many tempting choices. This week, I finally managed to get my lazy bum over to the St. Jacobs village. Just for you, Kokken.
It is a lovely place really. Please do visit if you get a chance.
The cafe was quiet since it was a Friday morning. Do not be fooled – we barely got seats the last time we came on Saturday!
The help-yourself coffee station.
Isn’t it rare that espresso is the same price as drip coffee?
Assorted retail items. I wished they sold coffee beans. Y and I are currently in an emergency bean-less situation!
I was very confused with the ordering system on my first visit. Firstly, there is no clear menu at the cafe, though all sandwich options are clearly listed on their website. I think they offer salads and soups as well, but that has not been clearly conveyed at the cafe. On my second visit, I forgot how I managed to un-confuse myself on the first visit, so… I was still confused.
I think we asked the same question for both visits:
Uhm… how do we order?
It felt silly asking that, b-b-but I don’t think Kokken’s system is the same as other cafes. Was anyone else confused at Kokken too, or was it just me?? ;(
They pre-make all the open-faced/panini sandwiches rather than make to order.
Then you point and choose. I felt that it was unappetizing to order a sandwich that had been sitting out for hours and had qualms about how good it was going to be. I guess pre-making them helps save time and allows for a shorter waiting time for customers.
Here is the menu in summary:
- Roast Port with red cabbage
- Filet of sole with remoulade
- Smoked ham with peas and carrots
- Havarti with tomato
- Danish meatballs (Frikadeller)
- Egg and shrimp
- Roast beef with crispy onions
Grilled Panini Sandwiches:
- Roast pork with apple rhubarb and chutney
- Pulled chicken with mango and havarti, chedder, and roasted red pepper
- BBQ cajun chicken with roasted red peppers and crispy onion
- Tomato and mozzarella with spinach
On the Table for Maple:
- Pulled chicken and mango with havarti, cheddar, and roasted red pepper
- BBQ cajun chicken with roasted red peppers and crispy onions
- A mug of coffee
Not sure what the exact breakdown of pricing is as it is not listed on the menu/website/receipt. Totaled to $16.94 after-tax.
Y and I agreed that mango chicken was the clear winner.
The havarti and chicken provided a rich savory bite, yet the mango accentuated the panini to a whole new level with tingling sweetness. I loved how the panini bread did not leave me with crazy oily fingers.
BBQ cajun chicken had a great spicy kick, but the flavours were slightly too one dimensional compared to the mango chicken. A point to note – chicken chunks were HUGE. Seriously, HUGE. The panini was all I ate all morning/afternoon and lasted me till dinner time.
Y and I thought it would have been better if Kokken provided an option for a side salad/soup as a combo. Perhaps they do, but that needs to be conveyed more clearly to customers. We were craving for a little more after those two sandwiches. Satiated, but wanted a teeny more.
For comparison, this was what I ordered a year ago:
I cannot remember what Y ordered…
… but I had the mango chicken on gluten-free bread. You can see how consistent Kokken’s quality is from the photos!
Since there was no other customers, the owner/server kindly came to check on us to see if the panini sandwiches were good. That was a nice gesture, and yes, they were absolutely delish-fabulous.
A thank you note on a napkin, framed.
Thank you, lunch was delish and bread pudding greatly appreciated!
I would love to try other menu items the next time I am there – hopefully earlier than next year. However, I simply cannot bear to pass on that amazing mango chicken panini!! It is definitely one of the most memorable panini combinations I have had. Although they do not make their own bread, Kokken’s interesting sandwich combinations made them an outstanding sandwich cafe. Definitely one worth making an extra trip for.
1) $ – one panini/sandwich less than $10
2) Slightly confusing ordering system, limited seating
3) Approximately 10 minutes wait for the panini machine
4) Servings do not look huge, but very substantial and filling