A Dark Horse lights up Casino cafe scene

ABOVE: Brendon Thurgate, Charlotte Lanrow, Brendon’s partner Sam Drewe and daughter Charlotte Thurgate at the Casino cafe.

Susanna Freymark

Brendon Thurgate is the new kid on the block of Casino’s cafe scene.

“I saw a need, I saw the space,” Brendon said.

Dark Horse Espresso opened in South Casino a week ago.

If the cafe name sounds familiar, Brendon has a Dark Horse Cafe in Lismore too.

The look and the food are the same as the Lismore cafe – a successful formula of cosiness and “real food”.

“We are known for being comfortable and for real food,” he said.

“We’re starting out simple with rolls and pastries, what people call cabinet food.”

Dark Horse at Casino.

He is planning a more extensive menu but is “limited by Richmond Valley Council” at the moment, he said.

He opened Lismore’s Dark Horse cafe in July last year. After the floods he was keen to bring “some normality” to Lismore.

Now he travels between the two cafes from Alstonville where he lives.

The decor of both cafes is similar too. The deep dark blue walls with old, recycled decorations such as the five milk cans at the Casino cafe.

“I rarely buy new of anything,” Brendon said.

“There is too much waste in our world. I hate that we are a throw-away (society).”

The fresh pastries with fresh cream. Yum.

The rusted tin lining the walls of the front counter comes from a farm at Rosebank.

And the coffee? Deep, creamy and tasty. Brendon uses Single O which is roasted in Sydney.

The rolls are pulled pork, bacon and other fillings, and all of them are crammed with fresh salad. And the pastries topped with fresh cream and berries are ‘to die for’.

Dark Horse Espresso in Casino is open 7am–2pm seven days a week.

Find the cafe on 78 Centre St, South Casino.

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