The Sydney restaurant scene’s It Boy has opened up a café. But is it any good?
Having déjà vu every time you go into a restaurant? It might well be that you’re having ‘an Eric’. If you feel like you see the same waiter every time you go into Sydney’s hottest new bar/eatery, be it MoVida, Baxter Inn, Porteño, Bloodwood, or Master, that's because it's Eric Mendoza, the most prolific waiter in Sydney.
'An Eric’ is now a thing of the past, because Mendoza has opened up his own place, not a big fancy restaurant, but a diminutive café in Pyrmont. The place is equal parts tiny and cute, with a bare-brick and white tile interior, a few wee tables inside and more substantial ones outside. We visit on a chilly day and it's still too cold to sit outside. More outdoor heaters are on the way, we’re told, but we opt to huddle-up indoors.
Named for Mendoza’s grandma, Clementine’s is already doing a roaring trade in coffee, with folk from the nearby office buildings piling in for a warm-up brew. The beans are by Marrickville roastery Blind Man Coffee and the flat white is chocolaty, smooth and light rather than rich, complex and robust. There are Nutella hot chocolates for those wanting something sweeter (when will the craze for Nutella die? Never, it seems).
The Godfather meatball sub is in line to be the best hot sandwich in Sydney – a soft, fluffy, barely-there roll encases four huge, super-tender meatballs, topped with melted provolone cheese, basil and tomato sauce. A mouthful of this and you will be instantly warm. There are four Reubens on the menu, and we go for the Felix, corned beef with pickled cabbage and Swiss cheese on rye, but with Westmont pickles and mustard to make it extra tart. It’s excellent: textured and beautifully seasoned, but we'd prefer the corned beef more tender.
Clementine’s is bringing a little piece of hip to Pyrmont. Thanks to the lovely Mendoza, the service here is like that of an old friend. And who doesn't want a neighbourhood café like that?
52 Harris Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat 8am-2pm|