Hibernia Café

Hibernia Café

The sandstone, heritage-listed Magill Institute building has been the heart of the Magill Village community for almost two centuries. Its Victorian-era arches have long framed a locus of culture, conversation, and celebration. The building operated as a town hall, a presentation hall, then later a cinema. Now, the Magill Institute has been renovated and repurposed to host Hibernia Café, a venue which continues to honour the building’s traditional role as a meeting place and community centre in the Adelaide foothills.

“Our customer base is the kind of people who have time to sit and chat,” explains James Sherry, Hibernia’s Owner and Head Chef. “If I’m not out the front, the regulars that know me find their way back [to the kitchen] and have a chat. I encourage my staff to get to know our regulars and keep up with their lives. That personal relationship is what has kept people coming back.”

Guided by this philosophy of community engagement for six years, the café offers a site for connection, and a place to serve quality food and coffee.

Hibernia takes an authentic, handmade approach to its menu. “We pickle a lot of our own vegetables, make the sauces, and bake all the cakes on site. We only buy in one or two things and otherwise take that extra step to make it our own,” says James.

In this vein, James’ food is characterised by modern creativity and celebrates the lush South Australian produce at hand. The most popular dish on the menu is the potato pancakes, which are topped with smoked salmon, pickled red onion, crème fraiche, and exploding vegan paprika pearls made to look like red caviar. Hibernia also dresses up the classic Eggs Benedict, topping it with a slow-cooked brisket.

Alongside the modern menu and fresh Scandinavian interior is a commitment to quality coffee. “We are using Toby’s Estate. Our house blend is Broadway, which has notes of molasses, berries, and brown sugar notes,” James says. “People have loved [the Toby’s Estate blend]. I think that mostly ties back to its consistency and ease of use,” James says.

He adds that Hibernia’s medium-roast, rich house blend was chosen to suit the palate of its customers, who prefer a “more rich coffee that cuts through the creaminess of the milk,” he explains. Hibernia also offers a monthly-rotating single origin coffee from Toby’s Estate to keep its black coffees “fresh and funky”.

In addition to serving quality-focused coffee and food, Hibernia gives back to the community by displaying rotating works by local artists.

“It does create that sense of community where the artists will bring their family and friends in to have a look at their art and be really proud of what they’ve put up,” James says.

Equally as proud is James when he sees the venue bustling with customers enjoying Hibernia’s produce and atmosphere. “There’s a sense of pride from having your own place, and people can say ‘wow, what a beautiful café you’ve got.’”

Hibernia Café

611 Magill Road, Magill, South Australia, 5072

Open Monday ­­to Friday 7:30am – 2:30pm, weekends 8:30am – 2:30pm

(08) 8331 3133

This article appears in the August 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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