Words by Amanda Kennedy Images Supplied
If you’ve been in Kyneton’s busy commercial precinct recently, you may have noticed a shiny, new café right by the intersection of High and Mollison streets, Pollen Coffee & Objects. The newest café in town may not be about poached eggs and smashed avocado but it is about people coming together. The name was chosen to reflect that very idea of cross pollination, that basically ‘we all need each other in order to survive.’
Rene Spence and Ruth Laird Spence met 20 plus years ago at Edinburgh Uni and Melbourne’s hospitality scene wouldn’t be the same without them. Rene is part owner of Melbourne’s popular Uncle restaurants. Ruth worked at MoVida and Da Noi before jumping ship for a career in ceramics. Ruth’s Fork Ceramics have graced many a restaurant table and her joyous pieces will now be available from Pollen.
The café and store will celebrate a raft of other local makers, including Jess Wootten with his beautifully crafted leather aprons, Emily Dellios with her furniture and homewares, and Froni Binns with her porcelain jewellery to name but a few.
Of course, that Pollen exists at all is as much down to the stars aligning as it is to the couple’s grit. Like many hospo couples, the pair juggle work and a young family, and for Rene, a psychology degree.
Ruth and I have been speaking of doing a small coffee shop in Kyneton just to simplify our lives. We’ve been toying with it for years, backwards and forwards. Actually, we finally put the idea to bed then the space that we’d always wanted just came up.
Over the next several months, they transformed the shopfront into a light, airy and welcoming space. Upon entering, your eye is immediately drawn to the unique, hand-crafted counter crafted from hempcrete, an idea that’s been on Ruth’s mind for years.
‘It’s a building material that you usually use for houses so it’s really sustainable. You actually mix hemp plant with concrete-setting lime. The person that built it for us mixed through some ochres in different colours and tapped it down in layers.’
Initially, they will be just serving quality coffee (Proud Mary Coffee and Inglenook Dairy milk) and sweet treats. The menu will slowly extend over the next few weeks with a simple, yet scrumptious, selection of pressed sandwiches.
WHAT: Pollen Coffee & Objects
WHERE: 5 High St, Kyneton
WHEN: Wednesday – Friday 9am to 3pm, Saturdays to come
MORE INFO: @pollen_kyneton
We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.