Kipling’s Garage Bar
When it comes to origin stories, it’s hard to find one more unusual than how this grungy cafe got its name.
“It is called Kipling’s for sentimental reasons: a favoured family dog, now long deceased, was called Kipling,” explains Helen Thompson who owns the bar with her husband, Chris. She then shares the second reason.
“My husband Chris was reading Jungle Book while travelling through Thailand on a bus, in the jungle, when the bus slid off the wet dirt road and rolled down the hill. He was reaching into his backpack and put the book in his mouth to free up his hands when he was flown from the bus. He wasn’t injured. The book still has his teeth marks in it. Bit of a lucky charm in the name.”
Kipling’s Garage Bar opened in August 2013, serving an eclectic cuisine and an evening “street food” menu.
“Our General Manager who started with us is originally from Brazil, and he designed the menu,” says Helen. We have had popular staples such as duck pancakes, zucchini flowers and calamari, Barramundi and eye filet, since the beginning. Head Chef Ryuji Yashiki and his team now design the menu and, tweak it with specials such as Tempura Cauliflower, Porchetta & duck spring rolls.”
The street food menu references typical street vendor fare you might find in Spain, Brazil, Indonesia. It’s ideal for sharing. It’s also perfect for sampling any of the over 300 different wines on offer.
Staff are continually trained in wined knowledge and will recommend certain wines if they feel confident about doing so.
“Since reopening during COVID we offer a single use, one page wine list,” explains Helen. “We offer the extended list to patrons who may have an interest in a wider selection.”
Kipling’s occupies a space that was previously a mechanic’s workshop, hence the “garage” in the name and the industrial chic decor.
“We like the integrity of the structure with the enormous RSJs spanning the ceiling, and we installed the huge Big Ass fan in keeping with the large open space,” says Helen.
The cafe attracts a range of patrons, from millennials through to retirees. Its convenient location makes it an ideal meeting place for people from the North Shore and beyond.
Helen and her family have lived in Turramurra for 20 years. The last year has been challenging but she’d like people to know that Kipling’s is surviving.
“While our opening times and our business model has had to change due to COVID restrictions, we are doing our best to remain positive and continue to welcome guests with warm, hearty smiles, and always ensure the best experience for them.”