Style – Fairtrade, Homemade, Natural, Workers’ Co-op, Café
Price Range ($) – 3 – 10
Rating – 7.5 out of 10
The Sleepless Goat is an interesting little café located on the corner of Wellington and Princess, and one of the popular study spots for university students. The small shop is eclectic and not like any other store in Kingston. It is a Worker’s Cooperative and serves fair-trade drinks, vegetarian/vegan dishes and homemade desserts.
As soon as you walk in, you will notice that this café is unique. There are promotional flyers and stickers for the most interesting events around town because according to its mission statement:
We [the café] are committed to our role in the Kingston community as a safe, accessible, child-friendly, environmentally conscious, pro-feminist, anti-facist, class conscious, queer-positive space.
The decor is eclectic but everything gives off a sense of calm and belonging; it feels like you’re sitting in your own home rather than in a café. The cups and plates are mismatched and you will notice that some of the tables are a bit wobbly and scratched up, but that’s exactly its charm. There is also a bookcase full of interesting books that you can borrow and bring home at any time (just be sure to return it!). The best terms to describe this café are welcoming, warm and comfortable.
The drink and food menu is written on the chalkboard behind the ordering counter with a wide variety of desserts and snack on display. It was awesome to see tons of vegan and gluten-free options, probably the best selection in Kingston. In the past, I have only tried their coffees and breakfast menu. Their coffees were good, though not the best in Kingston (check out Pan Chancho Bakery and Café). The same can be said about their breakfast items! As a matter of fact, I found their food to be healthy/fresh-tasting, but seriously lacking in flavour and just bland. Let me elaborate.
I tried their Lunch/Dinner menu to confirm my initial thoughts from breakfast. I ordered the Flyin’ Burrito – Spiced black and pinto beans, turmeric-coloured rice, and melted white cheddar cheese wrapped up in a whole-wheat tortilla and served with fresh salsa, sliced avocado and sour cream. It tasted fresh, clean and healthy. The salsa and sour cream were the stars of the dish but sadly, the burrito did not shine. The beans tasted a bit undercooked and the rice were overcooked. With the addition of the cheese, it was just an indistinguishable goop of a mess – a big bland mess. Nothing was seasoned and I couldn’t tell the difference between the components of the burrito. Furthermore, the tortilla was wet at the bottom and didn’t hold up.
My friend, N, ordered Dr. Irene’s Hellenic Wrap- a wrap, crammed full of hummus, feta, tzatziki, kalamata olives, and veggies and served with a side of house salad. According to him, the salad tasted great but he had the same problem with the wrap – bland! He left wishing for more… more seasoning that is.
The waiters were fast in bringing our orders. Because of the setup of this café, we have to go up to get refills on our drinks (comes in mason jars!) as well as dispose of our own dishes into provided bins. I liked this system because I was able to enjoy my meal with no pressure from the staff. Everyone was friendly and willing to accommodate.
The food and the drinks are not the best in Kingston. However, the atmosphere is awesome and the mission of this little café is commendable. I will not go back for a full meal (bland, bland, bland), but I will definitely grab a coffee and enjoy the scenery from its windows. If I was to get a coffee anyways, I might as well support a local business that believes in equality, fair-trade and safe space.
UPDATE: I recently went back to the Goat, and their coffee… man! It was GREAT! You must try a cup of their Dr. Joe coffee!
The Weaving Quilt