Over the last few days I’ve been blogging primarily about the Fringe Festival. Being in the Exchange for the Fringe, I’ve done a bit of dining in the area. One of the places I’ve visited is Clementine Cafe.
I’ll get to the review of Clementine in a bit, but in case your interested, these are the Fringe shows I’ve reviewed: Wanderlust, Josephine, Vera Lynn-We’ll Meet Again, 4:48 Psychosis, Wooster Sauce, and Time’s Fancy. I recommend any and all of these shows if you’re interested in taking in some of the Fringe in the next few days. There are also lots of other good shows as well.
Clementine is located on Princess Avenue, and it’s just a couple of blocks from Old Market Square, the heart of Fringe Country. The cafe itself is in the basement of the building. Despite this, the cafe space is quite bright, and well lit. There’s lots of wood along with white tile accents.
Clementine is a brunch cafe, so it’s hours are early morning to mid-afternoon. It also specializes in small plates cuisine. This is a place where the emphasis is on quality over quantity, and by and large they deliver quite well on this.
Clementine Late Lunch
My first visit to Clementine was just about an hour before they were closing. Despite this there was no sense of being rushed at all. I was greeted and show a table, and then given time to decide on my order. They also brought a bottle of water for me to enjoy.
The Clementine menu is divided into mains and sides. I ordered on of each. For my main I chose the Turkish Eggs, and for my side the Maple Braised Bacon.
The eggs came sitting on a bed of hummus. There are two eggs, one with a spicy chili sauce, and the other with Zhoug, a middle-eastern spicy condiment. The eggs were perfectly soft boiled with their orange yolks oozing out as I cut into them. The chili sauce had a nice bite to it. I liked the Zhoug, the cilantro really standing out, but when I looked it up later, I discovered it’s meant to be spicy, but this once wasn’t. The toast was crispy with a really good chew to it.
The Maple Braised Bacon is really, good, and thick. It’s not overly salty and the maple flavour comes through quite well. I’d rate it as one of the better bacons I’ve tried.
As I was seeing a show and wanted to stay awake, I ignored the beer and wine menu and went with an Americano to drink.
Returning to Clementine
On my second visit it was a little earlier in the afternoon when I went. The cafe was busier, but there was plenty of staff on, and the service was just as good as the first time. One thing about the cafe, although the pace is quite leisurely, I found that I was able to get my order taken and food delivered in such a way that I had no trouble making any show.
This time I ordered the Chorizo Verde Tostado as my main. and the Tomatoes, Coconut Ricotta, and Green Curry Oil as my side.
The tosatdo is good and crispy. I enjoyed the Chorizo but found it a little mild. I found most of the spicy items a little underwhelming on the spice angle. The flavours are very good, but the spice is lacking. The Curtido added a good flavour counterpoint, and the egg was again perfectly cooked.
The tomatoes in the above dish were very nice. The acidic element in the tomato flavour was muted, which made them that much more enjoyable. The Ricotta was nice and smooth, and the Green Curry Oil brought some extra lightness to the dish.
Despite all the good food, thee was one disappoint in my Clementine experience. By disappointment I mean an item I wouldn’t order again. That was the Iced Tea. It looked like and had a flavour that reminded me of the GoodHost stuff. I don’t know if this is intended as some form of nostalgia trip, but it’s too sweet, and doesn’t really taste like tea. Otherwise Clementine is a really good place to stop for a high quality, leisurely paced, meal.