Jess North, the owner and personality behind both ‘Haynes Street Larder’ and ‘Jack and Jill’ in Kalamunda opens up about her past, local family legacy and the passion behind two of Perth’s leading cafes.
Coming out from the shadow of her legendary local family – the Balfours, Jess has carved out a unique and very popular niche serving up some of the best coffees in town and creating a loyal tribe of customers who would likely rather switch their grandmas than switch their morning caffeine vendor.
Jess is the fourth generation of Balfours to grace Kalamunda’s retail scene with her Great Grandad running ‘Better Burgers’, her Grandma owning ‘Classique’ and her mum ‘Chantique’. But she’s the first to venture into the sometimes tough world of food and coffee service.
However she’s carved out an impressive offering with the award-winning, intimate Haynes Street Larder being infamous for it’s velvety coffees and allergy friendly small eats and it’s big sister down the hill ‘Jack and Jill’ serving flavour-packed breakfasts and lunches that draw crowds from across Perth.
Jess’s philosophy is simple – flavour comes first, be as sustainable as possible, source locally (and not just paying lip-service to that – actually doing so daily) and finally being an active part of the local community. The latter is so true that the majority of her guests at her engagement party were friends made at the cafes!
The concept of a wider impact is strongly embedded in the businesses. Both cafes now use local unhomogenized milk in glass bottles and have subsequently saved over 23,000 plastic milk bottles ending up in landfill. Their range of juices are cold-pressed by a local start-up company with fruit grown in the Bickley Valley just up the road. They swap compost material for edible flowers and herbs with the Kalamunda Community Garden and give away coffee grounds for gardens and body scrubs. It’s hard work making all that happen, but 100% worth it in her view.
Life has always centred around food for Jess. She grew up with food being a focal part of life with her earliest memories being around cooking and her mum. Straight out of school she started out at Miss Maud’s on the coffee machine before moving to Crema where she really learned her trade in coffee. Jess even tried a stint in the kitchen at one of Perth’s top restaurants but hated the silence and seriousness of the kitchen.
Jess is most famous however for her first café - ‘Crumpet’- in Vic Park. A great little place that taught her a lot and helped her find her vibe, but she eventually sold it after being disheartened by the 100-hour work weeks. Crumpet was one of the leading cafes at the time alongside Toast, Mrs. S, and Sayers that were championing breakfasts with a twist and brought about the breakfast revolution in Perth.
Jess brought her wealth of experience back up the hill to her homeland and here she can be found from 5.30am each morning with her devoted team of happy staffers lovingly making no-nonsense delicious dishes to a long line of loyal locals and Perth foodies.
What’s next for Jess and her team? Let’s just say they’re on the lookout for the ‘right venue’ for something ‘a bit different to what they do now…’ (Raised-eyebrow pause...)
Where are they? Haynes Street Larder Weekdays: 7am – 4pm Weekends: 8am – 3pm
Facebook: @vorratskammer Location: 2A Haynes Street, Kalamunda Jack and Jill Open 8am – 3pm every day except Monday. Facebook: @Jackandjillkalamunda Location: 18B Haynes Street, Kalamunda You can also follow their drool-worthy posts on social media.
Kalamunda’s coffee scene is literally exploding with so many options to suit everyone. Check out all the cafes available here and download the ‘coffee scene’ brochure for a town centre map with all the options listed.
This is just one great story from the heart of the hills. We’ve lots more to tell each month so stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes tales.