Concealed by concrete, Juno is a new McKinnon cafe with a surprisingly simple design

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In ancient Roman mythology, the goddess Juno is a symbol of help, youth and rejuvenation.

With its stylish yet playful interiors and farm-to-table philosophy, these qualities are exactly what Ahmed Mekawy hopes to embody in his new McKinnon cafe of the same name.

“Our mission is to develop holistic products and services that nurture the soul, nature and communities,” he says. “We try to make conscious decisions like buying local, wild, seasonal, organic and ethically sourced ingredients whenever possible.”

Juno is Mekawy’s second hotel company. He also owns Prior in Thornbury and was inspired to open a South East Friar after moving to the area.

With him is Prior chef Nick Korceba (ex-Maha), who along with fellow chef David Mikkelsen has crafted a refined produce-focused menu that transitions easily from breakfast to lunch.

Panko-Breaded Chicken Schnitzel is refreshed with kale and red cabbage slaw and dill-yuzu mayonnaise. The Moreton Bay bug roll, another crowd pleaser, is filled with green mango jam, kohlrabi, fried shallots and assorted herbs.

For something sweet, opt for the Farmed Ricotta Toast – a thick slice of Rustica brioche topped with three types of jam. They will change depending on the season, but right now there is a delicious variety of quinces made from the fruits grown in Prahran. It’s also available for purchase by the jar, along with pickled heirloom carrots, specialty drinking chocolates, bags of Inglewood coffee, and Juno-branded mugs. They are stacked on light wooden shelves and behind them is a minimalist courtyard filled with greenery.

Charming and childlike chalk illustrations (and the menu) on the wall are also a feature of the design, by architect Ritz & Ghougassian. He also designed Prior and MCKN – the concrete apartment complex that houses Juno – so the partnership was perfect.

“They wanted someone they knew they could push creatively,” says Mekawy. “Not many people try to over-design cafes [because] average expenses are so much less than a restaurant.

But for him, the investment was non-negotiable. “We are trying to create something beautiful.”

Juno

270c McKinnon Road, McKinnon

Hours:

Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sat & Sun 8am-3.30pm

junoeatery.com.au

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