Sunday 8am – 5pm
With the sort of fervor usually reserved for the second coming of Christ or the release of the latest Apple iThingy, Twitter let me know that Melbourne’s newest cafe, De Clieu, had opened and it was the dog’s bollocks. If you’re at all familiar with Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor’s other ventures, Seven Seeds and Brother Baba Budan, you know to expect good things. But is it really as awesome as the internets would have us believe?
The hype reminded me of the way people rave about movies; can anything actually live up to that level of expectation? Hard enough to follow up two of Melbourne’s most loved cafes with a third, let alone deal with that sort of pressure. So it pleases me immensely to tell you that far from feeling let down, I was in fact pleasantly surprised by my visits to De Clieu.
Given its pedigree, you probably don’t need me to tell you that the coffee at De Clieu is sublime, but I will because stating the obvious is one of my things. Not only is the coffee outstanding, it’s also a great place to branch out and try something more adventurous than a latte. I had the Panama Esmeralda made on a french press; that’s what people in the biz call a plunger. Wow. This is a great example of what coffee can be when it’s not being espresso. Delicate, subtle, sweet and aromatic. Even a hint of blossoms and bergamot. This must be what rainbows taste like. If you visit and they still have it on, try it. You’ll be pleased you did.
The food is also excellent. Simple but clever. Pickled calamari salad with fennel, witlof and blood orange. Somehow I passed that up for the poached veal baguette with tuna mayonnaise and fried capers. Yes, vitello tonato in a sandwich. Genius. Tasty, tasty genius. Can not wait to go back and try more of the menu.
I don’t often spend a lot of time talking about the decor of the cafes we feature, but I feel compelled to mention it here because it is flat out beautiful. And not in the sort of way that I’d normally respond to. Designed by Six Degrees, the fit out is incredibly sophisticated and nuanced. Yes there’s an immediate beauty; the industrial looking pendant lights are a knockout. And the huge windows with built-in bench seats are my new favourite place to read. But there’s also loads of detail that you don’t necessarily see on your first visit. Like the olive canvas that wraps the bar. More reasons to come back.
So there we have it; De Clieu is a ripper. I guess that means the internet was telling the truth. Who’d have thought?