“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot”.
Even as far back as the 4th century BC wise folks recognise the importance of finding that ‘special spot’. It seems serendipitous that Khalil and Rim Qubbaj generated their own happiness at the start of 2016, by way of ‘The Spot’. Neither one was working in hospitality, with Khalil completing his masters in IT, and Rim studying – while also looking after their newly born son, Mohammad. However, a childhood filled with heart-warming moments watching his mother and grandmother master the art of cooking in the family kitchen was all too strong for Kahlil, and it was time to turn his dream into a reality. Paired with an intrinsic love for hosting and being hospitable, Khalil has a knack for creating magic in the kitchen. The Middle Eastern inspired menu was carefully crafted a year in advance, and the commitment to make many ingredients in-house has continued.
The name itself reflects a desire to create ‘the spot’ for people to meet, gather, and feel welcome. The couple designed the café themselves, selecting everything – from the Philodendrons in the green corner, right down to the native Australian hardwood used in the furnishings. Their vision was to build a ‘fresh space’ with white walls; where plants could thrive, and the detail in and on the tables could be appreciated. Inspired by Rims love for nature photography, green features prominently throughout the venue, and there is a continuity in the geometric shapes featured on the pendants and wall tiles behind the coffee bar. The synchronicity hints at what’s to come – that being the coffee and food.
In an area which was once barren lands for specialty coffee, The Spot has brought the inner Melbourne coffee culture to Coburg. Every shot is weighed out accurately, and extracted with precision, so that the inherent flavours within the coffee shine. Sourced from Rumble Coffee, there are a selection of single origin beans available for both espresso and filter coffee, and the Shadow Boxer blend for milk based espresso. I was treated to a naturally processed Indonesian coffee from the Wahana Estate. It had an exotic tropical fruit aroma, and syrupy sweet body with pineapple and melon notes.
The execution is just as meticulous in the kitchen, with a selection of superbly fragrant dishes. As Rim likes to put it, “We want to give people something from the heart, an authenticity”. The meals are nourishing and flavoursome, with options such as Baked Moroccan Eggs with traditional spices, crumbled labne, and zaatar; Harissa Scramble with cayenne green and red chilli; Flame Grilled Lamb Burgers; Special house-made falafels with fresh greens and tahini on Turkish bread; and the Mujudara using Khalil’s grandma’s original recipe. This traditional Middle Eastern dish is made up of slow cooked rice, lentils, and spices that are topped with mint yoghurt, harissa, and a poached egg. It’s as wholesome as the manner in which it’s delivered.
At the core of The Spot is inspiration. Having watched her husband realise his dream for over a year now, Rem has commenced studying Psychology part-time, a lifelong passion. Furthermore, Mohammad is now the little boy who keenly watches his father in the kitchen, and may well follow in his footsteps. In the meantime, Khalil, Rim, and the team at The Spot continue to share their love for authentic food, sincere service, and quality coffee.
Shop 6 14-20 Nicholson Street