King Arthur Cafe

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

As a longtime fan of Merriweather Cafe, I was excited to hear that the owners were opening a new cafe in New Farm. I was even more excited when I found out that Andrew Tolley, previously at The Statler & Waldorf, was going to be the opening chef. Slowly, little nuggets of information about it started to appear online and King Arthur Cafe began to gain social media momentum. After chatting to L from Yelp on one of King Arthur's Instagram pictures, we arranged to meet there for a weekday breakfast a few days after it opened. Another fellow Yelper (L too but we will call her TS for easy identification purposes!) also liked the look of it so joined us.

Simple exterior

King Arthur is located on Arthur St, just off James St near the Leona Edmiston vintage shop. I couldn't recall what had been there previously but L informed me that it used to be a design shop. The view in from the large glass windows allows passers-by to realise that a cafe lives here but the simple gold lettered signage in the window identifying it is unobtrusive so look hard if you're driving by. As you enter, the space downstairs is minimal with four or five high bench tables and the gorgeously tiled counter and kitchen taking up most of the small space. The decor is simple with white and navy painted brick walls and the Mediterranean-style counter tiles being the main decorative feature. I passed several customers already enjoying their coffee and breakfast on my way towards the stairs which led to a space with a domed ceiling, timber floors and several small black plywood tables and stools as well as a large timber shared table.

Menu featuring seasonal produce and sustainable ingredients

L was waiting when I arrived so water had already been placed on the table and we were given menus and our drinks orders were taken. I opted for a long black with milk on the side and L deviated from her usual green smoothie chose the berry type instead. TS arrived shortly afterwards and ordered a latte. Similar to the Merriweather menu, King Arthur's features local seasonal produce and includes a few not-so-standard options as well a twists on old favourites. Instagrams of the Quinoa & Chai Porridge with cocoa nib gingerbread & fresh figs ($13) caught my eye but in the end the Locally Caught Charcoal Pilchards with preserved lemon & truffle mustard ($15.50) won my (hungry) heart because I loved the truffle mustard I'd had recently at S&W and I'm a fan of fish for breakfast. I added on an additional egg ($2.50) and gluten-free bread ($1). TS chose the Avocado on rye with bay leaf ricotta and pistachio ($14) and L went for my other potential choice - Local Slow Cooked Goat with tomato, oregano and sourdough ($18). Can I just say that goat is amazing and should feature on significantly more menus that it does! Sadly they weren't able to source goat that morning so it had been replaced with lamb.

Long black with milk on the side

Our drinks arrived shortly afterwards. L's Berry Smoothie ($8.50), made with raspberries, banana, pineapple and ginger, was a tall glass of frothy pink goodness. My Long Black ($4), made using Coffee Supreme beans, was smooth and rich with the milk provided in a mini milk bottle. I imagine TS' latte was similarly good. After some excellent intelligent conversation about the world, as we of course do, our meals were brought out. All attractively plated and each looking more delicious than the last. L's succulent looking shredded slow roasted lamb was draped over the thick slice of dark seeded Sprout Artisan sourdough with sauteed spinach interwoven throughout. The sauce was thick and described by L as 'rich but not too rich'. TS's slice of sourdough was topped with a generous amount of chunky mashed (not smashed) avocado and topped with an ample amount of bay leaf ricotta, parsley and crushed pistachio. My dish arrived with two slices of bread with the pilchards (sardines) and poached egg placed on top with a large dollop of the truffle-infused seeded mustard, several sprigs of parsley and thyme and a wedge of lemon.

Local slow cooked lamb with tomato, oregano, and spinach on sourdough ($18)

Avocado on rye with bay leaf ricotta, parsley, and pistachio ($14)

The charcoal grilled pilchards packed an intense flavour punch which I love in oily fish like sardines and mackerel. A slight smoky flavour from the charcoal was evident and the fresh lemon helped to cut through the rich flavour. I couldn't detect any preserved lemon but the fresh lemon provided enough. The truffle mustard added some nice heat and although it didn't taste as truffle-y as I'd had at S&W, that may just be because the other components of the dish meant it didn't stand out as much. The egg was absolutely perfectly poached exactly as I like it - complete cooked whites and a thick gooey yolk. As soon it I cut through the egg, the yolk slowly oozed out to thickly cover the toast without going over the edges. I know, I sound somewhat obsessed by egg yolks (#yolkporn) but seriously, gluten-free bread is crazy absorbent so when covered in anything overly wet it becomes a sad pile of mush. Although in saying that, this bread was definitely one of the better gluten-free versions I've had and similar to (if not actually) the Sol Breads pumpkin version. Throw in a bit of freshly cracked pepper and I was in breakfast heaven.

Locally caught charcoal pilchards with preserved lemon and truffle mustard on GF bread  ($16.50)

We stayed chatting for some time and I enjoyed being in the light and airy environment. We were one of few customers upstairs the whole time we were there but I expect that was due to the cafe being new and the midday late morning time and that soon, and especially on weekends, we won't be afforded that luxury again! L noted that despite the ceiling fan and air-conditioning she could imagine it could get quite warm and stuffy come Summer but right now, it's perfect. Reluctantly, I admitted it was high time I made it in to work and we went downstairs to pay. Payment is handled via an iPad system and the staff kindly let us pay separately, although I'm not sure that will be possible in busier times.

Freshly made tarts and Sprout Artisan pastries

Like Merriweather Cafe, King Arthur is already a new favourite of mine and I expect it to be popular amongst the Brisbane breakfasters (which is essentially everyone nowadays) so expect a wait on weekends. If you don't have time to sit around, they do takeaway coffee ($3.50/$4/$4.50) and have a range of pastries made by Sprout Artisan and some homemade items such as cacao & raspberry tarts. You can also purchase Coffee Supreme Roasters coffee, Bee One Third honey (very locally collected from James St. hives) and Merriweather Cafe condiments. King Arthur also has a small but delicious sounding lunch menu which I'd love to try soon too.

Scroll down for more photos

King Arthur on Urbanspoon


Simple, modern aesthetic

Busy even for a mid-week morning

Coffee, preserves & honey available to take home

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