187 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (map)
Open daily 7am-5pm
De Clieu opened nearly six months ago, a sibling cafe to Seven Seeds and Brother Baba Budan. Occupying the Gertrude Street corner site that used to house a real estate agents, the fitout is very chic and Six Degrees-y.
De Clieu is named after Gabriel-Mathieu d'Erchigny de Clieu, the 18th century naval officer who introduced coffee to the French colonies. The name rhymes with "Dieu", but people tend to hesitantly rhyme it with "clue". My friends and I like to pronounce it "De Claaaaeugh", but this is said with affection.
The menu is eclectic and slightly eccentric, including a dish called Let's Get Going (bowl of coco pops, glass of house made red cordial and a coffee for $10). There are three different savoury hot pressed grain sandwiches on the menu with interesting contents like balsamic roasted sardine fillets, roasted tomato, red onion and parmesan ($11). I love that each one comes with a side serve of crisps.
The kerrrrazy-indulgent brunch item is the spring onion roti with sweet roasted pork neck, barbeque sauce and a fried egg ($15.50). It's very rich and very sweet what with all that pork and honey and hoisin, and the flaky roti has a marvellously feathery texture which I loved.
On another visit I regressed to my childhood and had the banana and nutella hot pressed grain sandwich ($8.50). YUMMO.
Canelés de Bordeaux, the new sweet food trend to take over from macarons now that the latter have gone well and truly mainstream. Ed from the blog Tomato wrote a blog post six months ago predicting that these sinful little crème brûlée-like cakes would be the Next Big Thing, and Duncan from Syrup & Tang was already showing us all how it's done, canelé-wise, way back in late 2009.
Canelés are cropping up more and more frequently in Melbourne cafes, and the best ones I've had are made by Gâteaux de Bordeaux up in the Yarra Valley. You can follow them on Twitter and find their canelés at De Clieu, Seven Seeds, Liaison and several farmers markets.
De Clieu can be madness on the weekends, so try to visit either during the week or outside the brunching rush hour on a Saturday or Sunday. It being a Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor cafe, it goes without saying that the coffees are excellent - even the wussy little weak lattes like the one pictured below (necessitated by my pitifully low caffeine threshold!).