23 October 2010
De Clieu @ 187 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Mark Dundon is his name and coffee is his game. Founder of St Ali, Seven Seeds and Brother Baba Budan, Mark Dundon, has delivered Melbournians with yet another modish café in which to embrace quality coffee. While De Clieu is less grungy and more modern than Dundon’s former establishments, offbeat chic has certainly not been forgotten – recycled beer bottles are still used to hold drinking water and deep alcoves have been built into the exterior walls for those patrons who wish to do away with overly traditional tables and chairs.
I ordered a piccolo latte to get my caffeine fix for the day, and as expected, it contained a perfect layer of silken froth, complete with a flawless rosetta, and tasted terrific.
Although the food menu is somewhat limited in size, you will find unique items such as pickled calamari with blood orange and green chilli and fermented lentil and rice pancakes with spicy coconut. As always, we were drawn towards the meat dishes – on this occasion, the lamb pizza and the pork roti.
The ground lamb pizza was presented as a flat bread sandwich with a light spread of minced lamb and an ample stack of spinach leaves. Appearance wise, the dish looked fit for a vegetarian rather a meat loving enthusiast. I prepared myself for disappointment – disappointment which fortunately never eventuated. As I sank my teeth into the warm soft bread, I was immediately struck with an explosion of flavours. The tart lemon juice had coalesced with the currants and pomegranate molasses to create a wonderfully piquant dressing for the spiced minced lamb. The generous serve of spinach even had its own part to play by moderating the sharpness of the flavours to create a well balanced dish.
The roti was similarly enjoyable, but ultimately less inspiring than the lamb pizza. On top of the spring onion roti lay chunky slices of roasted pork neck, a fried egg and small puddles of barbeque sauce. The sweet barbeque sauce worked beautifully to season the roast pork, however, the dish as a whole was a touch one-dimensional in flavour.
It has only been open for a week, but waiting lists have already been employed at De Clieu. With great coffee and great food, Mark Dundon has successfully rolled out yet another quintessentially Melbourne coffee hot spot.
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)