There’s a new suburban spanner set to be thrown into the works and Glam has got you the first-hand goss. We spoke to Zoi Kokoti (part owner of Eire Café and The Deli) to hear about her plans for Hibernia Café on Magill Road and the inspiring ethos they’re creating.
Zoi and Stephen’s (also part owner and Zoi’s partner) passion for innovation and entrepreneurship set them apart from the rest, with local produce and sustainability the backbone of their philosophy. Adelaide’s food scene is about to get a whole lot cooler.
How will the Hibernia Café be different to your other cafés (Eire in Clapham and The Deli in Thebarton)?
Well, I think just the space in itself. The ceilings are 25 feet high, they’re humongous! It’s a beautiful, big, bright building so it already has that sense of warmth because of the light streaming in. Add something like Steve’s menu to it, I think it’ll be a really great location for breakfast/brunch/lunch. There are also a lot of students in the area so we’ll offer a few ‘take home’ meals, which will make it different.
Also our pies will be there- because we’ll be doing take home meals we can actually sell our pies frozen, like we do to supermarkets. We’re actually also going into around 300 pubs in Melbourne and Sydney with our pies in May, which is exciting! The frozen pies and take home meals will probably be one of the main differences.
Ideas on what the food will look like?
The food is going to be a bit different; it’ll be unique but still have our flair! As you know our menus are a little bit different, we’ll be sticking with freshly made food and local produce.
- Smoked mackerel, apple, fennel and cucumber salad with dill yoghurt dressing.
- Minted sweet potato and feta smash with toasted cashews on house made bread.
What will be your décor plans for the Magill Institute building?
I’m really strange in terms of my design, I start to work in a space and as I go along it evolves. It’s like the vision comes to me! I’m very creative with very little money, so I can make stuff out of pretty much nothing.
The décor will be different again; I try to do something a little bit different to suit each space. There’ll be a bit of concrete, a bit of black and white and wood. It won’t be overly done; I want to stay away from anything that looks very commercial. All of our places have an element of imperfection, but it’s because we touch everything and we make a lot of our furniture. We create things that you won’t see somewhere else. I’m hoping it’s effective, without a huge overspend on fit-out.
Why did you choose the suburbs and not the city again?
It’s probably because I lived in Melbourne for 20 years and that’s where Steve and I met, and for us working long hours, we didn’t necessarily want to go out for dinner every night. We wanted to go shopping and have a nice breakfast in the morning near our house. Have a coffee, have a chat, meet some people, get to know the people working in the café and create a sort of community.
Stephen and I are really into creating a community, and we actually won an award because of that (the Telstra Business Award). We took a space that was really nothing (Eire Café on Springbank Road) and not only created a business that has been sustainable but we actually created a sense of community for this area. It’s actually really funny when people sell their houses around here they say ‘house for sale around the corner from Eire Café’. So people come in here, we know their names, we know what coffees they want, we know their family’s names, and it’s lovely just having that level of relationship. I love it, when I talk about it I get goose bumps because I just love it.
I’m not a huge fan of the city; it’s not easy to go in every day just to get a coffee. Like I would go out there for a special occasion, but just to pop in it’s not really easy, and it’s expensive. So now people can just pop in to the suburbs and have a coffee, have a chat, without the fuss of going into the city.
Why a third café?
I don’t know! I’m a big believer in whatever opportunities come your way, if they’re meant to be, they’ll happen.
A business development company have been following us since the Telstra Awards and really liked our whole offer. They liked our social media, how we presented, they like the fact that we’re underground, community based, that we don’t do a lot of advertising and we try and grow organically. So they contacted us and said they had a new development at the top of Magill Road available. This company felt there was a lot of atmosphere missing on Magill Road, and they wanted a café in there!
So we (Stephen and I) went down and had a look at the building and it was a no-brainer. We just went, you know what? If it’s meant to be it’ll happen. Stephen’s a classically French trained chef, has experience in 5 star hotels and has worked with some of the best chefs in Ireland. So he has experience in that and I’ve got a business background, so the two of us together make a good team.
A lot of people actually think it’s quite a romantic idea to open your own café, but for us it’s 18-hour days and a lot of hard work. But it’s beautiful seeing your creation come to life.
Hibernia Cafe is set to open in mid-may. Look out for the beautiful old building at 609 Magill Road. And keep your eye out on Glam as we plan to hit the new cafe when it opens to try out its offering (all in the name of research)!
You can read our review of Eire Cafe here.