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9 Highly Recommended
Deviate – Clovelly Calling
For a long time there was a well-known café in Clovelly called SPECC that gained fame in the East. But from November a new place has evolved, and it’s called deviate. And it wants to win you over too. Using “deviate” as a verb, its tagline is: “To where the locals meet”. So will deviate permanently lure me off my current dining path, or just be a quick detour?
Located on Clovelly Road, opposite the Clovelly Hotel, deviate offers a relaxed atmosphere - with its “bird-cage”-style lamps hanging over the counter, plain concrete floors, brick side wall, brown ceiling fans and fold-back doors that allow you to dine either inside or alternatively, al fresco. My companions and I arrived at deviate at about 11:00 am on a Sunday after enjoying the always changing, but always awesome Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. Immediately I saw that the locals certainly are meeting here; as aside from the table we had reserved there wasn’t a free place to sit – inside or outside. The crowd was heterogeneous enough, with the young, not-so-young, children, babies, couples and groups in the house.
Daniel, the good-natured bloke that owns deviate, greeted us and showed his hands-on approach; as he was right in the middle of the action, constantly rearranging tables to accommodate larger parties as they entered. We started the proceedings with a couple of their fresh juices - including an orange, pineapple, watermelon and ginger mix - and a Seasonal Fruit Salad with natural yoghurt and honey that was enough for four, and which warmed us up for what was to come.
Balancing out the brunch, we went with the Avo Toast with avocado-feta mash, grilled tomato and rocket, a stack of Buttermilk Pancakes with maple syrup and banana, the Veg Breaky, with grilled corn fritter and chat potatoes, and the Big Breaky, with two eggs, bacon, a grilled lamb/rosemary sausage and sautéed mushrooms.
When the mains arrived it became clear that the square table was a little tight for four, so don’t keep your elbows on the table. The bread is the specialty here; as two half slices are the foundation of most dishes. My fig & raisin was a good choice to sweeten the otherwise carnivore’s delight that my Big Breaky was - as even I had to leave over some bacon and sausage.
I and everyone else thoroughly enjoyed their dishes, and from what I tasted, the corn fritter was an unusual treat and the pancakes were the best I’d had so far in Sydney. The Avo Toast had its patron intrigued enough to ask Daniel what the proportion of avocado to feta in the mash is (4/1). The last bit was a cappuccino (with a ‘zed’ emblazoned on top) made from deviate’s eclectic House Blend of Colombian, Costa Rican, Papua New Guinean and Ethiopian beans, and a hard-on-the-outside-but-chewy-on-the-inside house-baked Anzac biscuit.
Other cafés may be down at the beach, but from our experience that day, I’d say it’s worth trying something new, something a little off the common path, something like this place. I don’t live in Clovelly, but deviate will now be my After Walk tradition. I’d say that for the keen a visit is worth the effort, and that you should take the deviation, without hesitation.
Mar 07, 2014
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