This lower north shore cafe serves up breakfast pasta and thick-cut caramel toast.
Cavalier started as a hole-in-the-wall espresso bar. Now, it's a greenery-filled, 40-seat cafe pairing laid-back vibes with fine-dining flavours that's quickly become a go-to for lower north shore locals and workers alike.
Cavalier 2.0 — as the latter has been dubbed — comes four years after husband and wife duo Sara and Harry Kolotas first opened the smaller Cavalier in St Leonards around the corner. Whether or not you're one of the cafe's many regulars, you'll feel like you are when you head in.
"My staff and I love to have a chat and to have personal relationships with our customers." says Sara. "That's what people remember the most about a visit to Cavalier."
Designed by Sydney's Decor Project, the fit-out evokes a 'modern Australian' theme — as does the food, to an extent — with earthy tones, sunburnt red walls, Tasmanian oak furniture, red gum-coloured benches and a stone counter top.
The bigger location has allowed for a bigger kitchen, too, from which Harry is whipping up cafe classics like toasties and salads, as well as some more creative dishes. He's using skills from his fine-dining background and fresh produce to elevate the menu beyond standard cafe fare. The chicken in the salad ($19) is house-brined and sous-vide, comes atop a bed of fresh sprouts (sourced daily), sweet potatoes and house-roasted nuts, and is tossed in Harry's secret french dressing. Another signature dish is the thickly sliced, macadamia-encrusted french toast ($21), which is doused in caramel sauce and topped with whipped mascarpone.
As seasonality implies, the menu changes regularly. Recent specials have included sticky glazed short rib ($39) with truffle cauliflower cream; pork neck toasties ($25) topped with a poached egg and bechamel sauce; and a mushroom carbonara ($26) made with orecchiette and XO sauce. This can all be paired with a range of coffees — cold brew, white, batch and even tasting flights — chai and tea.
For fans of Cavalier 1.0, the neighbouring cafe continues to serve up its much loved jaffles and takeaway Sample coffees every Sunday and Monday.
Images: Trent van der Jagt
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