Kokken Village Cafe

I go to the St. Jacobs farmers market almost weekly, but rarely visits the St. Jacobs village.

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.

First Impression:

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:

Open-faced Sandwiches:

  1. Roast Port with red cabbage
  2. Filet of sole with remoulade
  3. Smoked ham with peas and carrots
  4. Havarti with tomato
  5. Danish meatballs (Frikadeller)
  6. Egg and shrimp
  7. Roast beef with crispy onions

Grilled Panini Sandwiches:

  1. Roast pork with apple rhubarb and chutney
  2. Pulled chicken with mango and havarti, chedder, and roasted red pepper
  3. BBQ cajun chicken with roasted red peppers and crispy onion
  4. Tomato and mozzarella with spinach

On the Table for Maple:

  1. Pulled chicken and mango with havarti, cheddar, and roasted red pepper
  2. BBQ cajun chicken with roasted red peppers and crispy onions
  3. 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

Køkken Village Café on Urbanspoon

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