Restaurants Reviews and Such

Clementine Cafe – Exchange District

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.

Clementine Cafe sign
Sidewalk sign for Clementine Cafe

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.

Clementine Cafe water service
Re-purposing milk bottles at Clementine Cafe.

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.

Clementine Cafe Georgian Eggs
Turkish Eggs served on hummus with toast from Clementine Cafe

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.

Clementine's Maple Bacon
Clementine’s really Thick sliced Maple Braised Bacon.

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.

Clementine Americano
A Rich, Strong Americano

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.

Clementine's Chorizo Verde Tostado
Chorizo Verde Tostado

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.

Clementine Tomatoes
Tomatoes with Coconut Ricotta and Green Curry Oil

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.

Clementine Iced Tea.
The Iced Tea at Clementine was quite disappointing.

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.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.