Chester’s Licensed Café is a quaint little café in Taylor Street, Kadina. It has seating inside for about a dozen people, along with a shady, tropical garden at the rear of the premises seating eight. Recently purchased in December 2017 by cooks Oscar Toribio and his wife Rachael, it is currently the only licensed café in Kadina. It makes for a nice change from the pub if you want to have a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
Speaking of wine and beer, Chester’s offers free tapas with every alcoholic drink purchased. How exciting! Of course I wasn’t going to miss the chance of getting something for free, or waste the chance to have a wine with my lunch, or miss out on trying something new (no one in the local area does tapas), so purely for the purpose of this review, I ordered a Sangria. Everyone who knows me knows that I usually only drink Sauvignon Blanc or beer, so this was a big step for me to chose Sangria. I wasn’t disappointed. The Sangria is made on premises with a fruity red wine, and is filled with big, bright chunks of fruit and peel. It had quite a gingery punch to it, and was served ice cold in a large wine glass.
Due to the short time that they have had their liquor license, they only have a limited range of alcoholic drinks available, but do plan on extending their range soon. Rachael said they would like to focus more on the alcoholic drinks and tapas in the future, as they are the only place in the area to serve tapas. Oscar explained that in Spain, tapas were always served for free with alcoholic drinks, not something that you pay for (like we have come to expect today).
There are a few different versions of how tapas originally came about. Tapa in Spanish means “lid” or “cover”. According to one legend, bartenders in Spanish taverns would put a saucer on top of the glass of beer or sherry to keep flies out in between sips. Then they realised they could use the saucer to serve some olives, cheese or ham, all which were very salty, which would increase thirst and make the customer drink more. The saucer was eventually replaced with a thin slice of bread, with the meat, cheese or olives on top.
We don’t have to worry about the flies getting into our drinks now days, so our tapas wasn’t served on top of our drinks at Chester’s. But I was presented with a tapas reminiscent of the historic bread, cheese and meat ‘lid’; it was a slice of fresh baguette spread with caramelised onion, upon which was laid a slice of Jamón and Manchago. It was delicious! So simple, but the salty flavour of the ham contrasted nicely with the mellow, smooth cheese and the sweet caramelised onions.
We were presented with a shared tapas with our second drink, a gorgeous plate of mushrooms, perfectly seasoned and cooked with olive oil and chunky pieces of Jamón.
For lunch I chose the Warm Beef Salad, which had a very reasonable price of $13.95. I misread the menu, and was expecting Thai Beef Salad, so when I tasted the dish I was surprised. But pleasantly surprised! The marinated beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and was served on top of angel hair pasta (instead of vermicelli noodles) and mixed salad greens. It had a soy, honey and sweet chilli dressing, along with diced onion, tomato and capsicum. There was a perfect amount of dressing to cover the pasta and salad greens, and the slightly sweet flavour of the dressing complimented the abundance of salty, savoury beef. I usually order the Vietnamese Salad from another café up the road, so it was a nice change to have a different flavour profile and noodle type.
My dining companion chose the Garlic and Parsley Grilled Chicken Salad at $10.95. It was a simple salad of mixed leaves, carrot, tomato, cucumber and mushroom, with grilled chicken on top and a honey mustard dressing on the side. A perfect choice for those who like their salad plain and not covered in dressing. The chicken was moist and had a delicate garlic flavour, and the salad was fresh and crunchy.
For dessert, we shared a piece of the home-made (by Rachael) Toblerone Cheesecake. Creamy, chocolaty, and not-too-rich, it was the perfect match to the Rosé I had moved onto after finishing the Sangria. Oscar, on overhearing our conversation about the desserts that Rachael makes, was quick to say his favourite is the adults-only Tiramisu. Unfortunately this wasn’t available today, or that would definitely have been my choice!
While meeting with Rachael a few days later, to have a chat about the Café, I asked her what her favourite menu item is. ‘Spanish Omelette’ was her answer, which is an omelette made with eggs, potato and onion. Their most popular dish at the moment is the Chester’s Baguette; a freshly baked baguette with roast chicken, curried egg, lettuce and mayonnaise. Now I’d be happy to sit in their garden all day and just drink wine and eat tapas, but unfortunately that’s just not possible with two children! So next time I’m in Kadina I plan on trying a Chester’s Baguette, and hope that Oscar hasn’t eaten all of the Tiramisu!
It’s great to see a local family bringing something different to the community. They are supporting local business by buying their ingredients locally, and employing staff. I will definitely keep supporting Rachael and Oscar in their new venture, which might just mean I’ll have to drink more of their wine and eat their tapas of course, and I wish them the best of luck with their future plans for Chester’s Licensed Café.
Chester’s Licensed Café, 36 Taylor Street, Kadina SA 5554.
Monday – Wednesday 8:00am – 5.00pm
Thursday – Saturday 8:00am – 8:00pm
$7.95 for a baguette
$13.95 for lunch
$15.95 for a full breakfast
To see a full menu click here to go to Chester’s Facebook page.