Even if you don’t know Shakespeare, My Kingdom for a Horse is a powerful name for a café – it’s enigmatic and beguiling.
“It comes from Richard III,” says owner Emily Raven, a former chef and hospitality lecturer for Le Cordon Bleu and the William Angliss Institute.
“In the Battle of Bosworth scene, Richard becomes unhorsed, leaving him at a disadvantage, and he cries: ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!’.”
She says it’s a metaphor for her own life but, in the four weeks since opening My Kingdom for a Horse, Raven appears to have made up for any ground she have may have lost in the past. It’s busier than she expected.
Located in a former electronics warehouse in the south-west corner of the city, the café occupies a big space seating 116, both indoors and out on the pavement.
Interior architect Samantha Agostino refitted the basic cream brick building with locally designed Gareth Brown tables and Max Hunt chairs.
Raven’s partner and café co-owner is Rachel Mead, whose brother Tony Mead is a Melbourne-based industrial artist. “Tony designed all the murals and the illuminated and exterior artwork.”
Tom Sharp (ex Gallery on Waymouth and Greek on Halifax) is the head chef, Thanh Luu (ex Coffee Barun) is the head barista, and Emma Horner (ex Horner & Pratt) works front-of-house, leaving Raven and Mead to concentrate on overall management.
My Kingdom for a Horse is not simply a café. It’s actually a coffee house, specialising in the roasting and supply of premium coffee. Raven learnt the art of roasting from Queensland-based master roaster Peter Wolff, who continues to mentor her. Melbourne’s Market Lane Coffee is also an inspiration.
There is a separate menu for cold drip and “V60 pour-over” coffees. The filter coffees are prepared in minutes using a paper cone and are light and aromatic compared to the more intense cold-drip coffees, which have been brewed in a complicated apparatus for 16 to 20 hours. Espresso coffee is also available.
The food menu is local and luxurious, consisting mainly of breakfast dishes such as hotcakes, compotes and eggs with ingredients such as Taleggio cheese, smoked ham hock, house-baked beans and white anchovies, but My Kingdom for a Horse is really all about the coffee.
“We’re planning some public cuppings,” says Raven. (A “public cupping” is coffee jargon for a coffee tasting.)
Favourite dish: South Australian blue swimmer crab and potato cakes with grilled corn salsa and chipotle mayo ($21.50). These delicate pan-fried cakes are prepared with fresh crab meat and mashed potato, then served with a sprinkling of smokey corn cut from the cob, very finely chopped tomato and cucumber, and tiny micro herbs. A splodge of spicy hand-made chipotle mayonnaise and a squeeze of lime add zing.
Other dishes: Roasted Berkshire pork shoulder with pickled red cabbage and relish on a brioche bun ($18.50); Barossa free-range chicken sandwich with slaw and pickles on Turkish bread ($14.50); Gin-cured ocean trout with poached egg, baby carrots, potato cakes, sea-greens and crème fraiche ($19.50); The Kingdom’s steak sandwich prepared with char-grilled flank stead, caramelised onion and horseradish crème fraiche ($22).
Something sweet/to drink: There are no house-made desserts on the menu at this stage, but there is a selection of pastries and cakes by Bittersweet Patisserie, Abbotts & Kinney and Scott Dutschke at The Sugar Pantry.
My Kingdom for a Horse is licensed, but wine, beer and cider (though all local) aren’t the standouts here. This is the place to indulge in exotic teas, coffees and tonics, some of which are available in alcoholic versions.
My Kingdom for a Horse
191 Wright Street, Adelaide, 8410 7408
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 7am to 4pm
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