Four Kilo Fish: Yunnan specialty coffee & Asian-fusion brunch

You might wonder if this place is Hawthorn’s new fish and chippery from its peculiar name. As you walk into the stylish space—designed by The Stella Collective—you’re swathed in rich coffee aromas and immediately convinced it’s definitely not. Four Kilo Fish was named after co-owner Yee, whose full name literally means four kilos of fish in Mandarin (Sijin Yu). It’s kind of a personal joke but sparks the curiosity of locals and foot traffic. The light-filled café, with marble-top tables and olive green furnishings, draws you in, urging you to have a peek and ask questions.

Owners Yee and Joey originally launched ‘Fish’ to showcase speciality single origin coffee, carefully sourced from Yunnan—where they were both born and raised. Yunnan farmers have been growing and producing coffee for over 100 years but only started focusing on specialty beans over the last decade. They’ve been working hard to boost their coffee quality and global reputation, experimenting with different methods such as naturally drying coffee ‘cherries’ to enrich fruit flavours.

Yee and Joey jumped on the opportunity to support their homeland coffee producers, confident that Yunnan has a place in Melbourne’s esteemed coffee culture. Their biannual visits to the coffee farms also give Yee the opportunity to see her grandma who lives nearby (too sweet!). The café serves (and sells) rare single origin blends, as well as fusions with Peruvian coffee—another emerging coffee contender—such as their signature ‘Uprising’ blend. In addition to their distinct name, another oddity is their ‘Modbar’ coffee machine installed under the counter. ‘We intentionally chose this machine so customers can see and talk to the barista about the coffee and ask questions,’ explains Joey.

Being fervent foodies who love exploring Melbourne’s dining scene, the pair decided to also launch a food menu because, why not? Alongside their inventive chefs, they’ve worked tirelessly on developing their breakfast menu, creating bold flavour combinations that reflect their philosophy on coffee: balanced sourness, acidity and body. Highlights include the Grapefruit Egg Benedict with grapefruit hollandaise, crushed nori, spongey brioche loaf and thick-cut short bacon; Smoked Salmon Bagel (bagels from Five & Dime) with house-made mandarin cream cheese, red onion and tomatoes; and a refreshing take on the classic smashed avo: cucumber, pickled radish, crushed nuts and lemon zest. From 11am, you can also dabble in their lunch menu featuring the Open Burger (which doesn’t seem like a burger at all) with an organic grass-fed beef patty, hash brown, tamarind and broccoli puree topped with a whopping Portobello mushroom. Satisfy your curiosity and pop into Four Kilo Fish for your next brunch date.

As featured on Onya Magazine.