Sunday, November 20, 2011

De Clieu

As I was born on the 24th of May, this makes me a Gemini.

This apparently means I am, on the good side, energetic, adaptable and chatty. But on the bad side, indecisive and impulsive.

But sometimes impulsiveness can be a good thing, I suppose. Lately I find myself furiously typing away dates in to my calendar for dinners and brunches with friends…and more friends…and more friends. I don't have a big circle of friends, but I tend to be more of the 'one on one' type of socialiser, and find bigger groups to be a little daunting at times. Hence lots of dinner dates, hence it gets difficult to squeeze in last minute eating affairs.

One day however, I just put it out on twitter. I wanted to eat at De Clieu. Really soon. I don't know why. It had just been sitting in my brain teasing me.

Fortunately for me, Bryan answered my call and a few days later, we were perving on the cute barista's. Such wandering eyes…

I've stayed away from De Clieu for a while, as when I do drive by on the weekends, there are always people pouring out the door, mingling, sipping their coffees, playing on their iPhones, while their doggies sniff at each other. I don't like waiting.

At 9:30am though, we managed to get a table inside the slightly dark and moody cafe. In contrast to a lot of cafes that have been opening lately, De Clieu is a little more grown up, a little more somber (not to be translated into boring).

I commented that the green walls felt very army camouflage colour, and with it's light fittings and illustrated botanical hanging, it all felt quite retro.

Bryan's magic, and my chai. Really lovely and smooth, with a really nice spice flavour. No complaints.

I love what De Clieu has done with their windows, making them multi purpose and not just letting in light, but also creating extra seating area. Perfect for summery days and getting lost in that amazing book.

The menu is surprisingly elegant, with some curious combinations for breakfast that I had never come across before!

When Bryan's dish came out, I was positively smitten. The Brunch De Clieu is possibly the prettiest and most elegant brunch dish I have ever seen. It made me think of what a fine dining restaurant may serve up for breakfast, plated to a perfection, with little edible flowers as well, ushering spring through.

The Brunch De Clieu was composed of free range bacon, a sunny side fried egg, cauliflower puree, wild mushrooms, veal jus and sourdough with a trickle of truffle oil. Although it sounds sumptuous and rich, the portion made it look much more reasonable. I had a nibble of the cauliflower puree, which was divine. Need a bowl of it.

I saw black pudding on the menu and I jumped for the Boudin Noir. Andrews choice black pudding with grilled asparagus, confit egg yolk and toasted ciabatta. I expected the black pudding to be on sliced on the side, like I've had it at other cafes before, so that I could discreetly skip over some of the bread, but at De Clieu, it came out evenly spread over the ciabatta already. Whoopsies. Oh well!

I found the black pudding was a lot less metallic that some I've had, and I love it's sweeter and milder flavour. It also had a surprising heat to it, giving that nice warmth at the back of the throat. The confit egg yolk was an interesting touch and it had the consistency of peanut butter as you spread it over the bread. Thick and delicious. Oh yeah.

Since both our breakfast's were fairly reasonably sized, and we had been ogling the glass box suspended in the distance, a floating treasure in some videogame, we decided to get some sweets. Which also gave Bryan the opportunity to have another Magic, except with a different roast.

Like children peeking into the closet to see what goodies we would be getting for Christmas, we crept up to the dessert display to steal some pictures and ogle. We settled on two little goodies, a lime syrup and blueberry friend, and after explaining to Bryan that canele's are French, and a speciality of Bordeaux…obviously, we got a canele.

The canele was interesting, although it is described as a French pastry, it is possibly one of the most dense cakes I have ever come across. Bryan and I had to team up to break the cannel apart with our wee dessert forks. Although it was dense, this didn't convert to heavy, and it was surprisingly sweet. Could really taste the rum and vanilla in it. Mmmm! My parents had travelled through the Bordeaux region two years ago and mum would moan at how often they received these desserts, whilst nice, too much gets a bit heavy!

We were both big fans of the friend though, it was light, short and crumbly. The lime syrup was definitely played up, coming through nice and tarty. It was kind of refreshing as a cake!

De Clieu brings something different to the cafe scene, not your typical big breakfast's, but something a little more dressy, imaginative but still full of flavour. This translate to the little cafe being packed out on weekend mornings, which we certainly found as we were leaving, with families and couples starting to hang around, waiting for seats.

So just remember guys, get up early to score yourself a guaranteed seat. Change your lazy weekend sleeps, be impulsive!

And while you're at it, read Bryan's review of De Clieu here... :)

De Clieu

187 Gertrude St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065

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