When Broadsheet visits Cliché ahead of its boulangerie opening, we find co-director Nathan Nababan perched on a stool, polishing a custom-made light box.
Merging the existing bistro and art gallery with an adjoining boulangerie had all hands on deck. Knocking down as much of the connecting wall as an engineer would allow, it’s now as open-plan as it can be. Sleek, cut-to-order black marble makes up the pastry display and countertop. It’s a sturdy base for the La Marzocco coffee machine.
“Now Baking” is scrawled above the heritage-listed frontage, courtesy of local signwriter Bohie Palecek. You can guess what happens when the light above it is flicked on.
“The two rooms talk to each other,” says Nababan. “We want to make sure it doesn’t confuse people.” With that in mind, both the boulangerie and bistro will now operate under the “Cliché” banner. Polished floorboards and wall-clad cement sheeting flow between.
Six new artworks line the bistro walls. Artist Kaspar Schmidt Mumm – who’s behind the recently opened SMOCK gallery – curated the series, which Nababan says “stands out during the night, but carries [the space] throughout the day.” One of Schmidt Mumm’s works is in the mix.
Through a set of glass doors is French-born patissier Clement Labaere’s domain. Another slab of black marble acts as a striking kneading table.
Plain and almond croissants, pain au chocolat and danishes are mainstays in the pastry cabinet. Specials, such as custard canelés and tarte tatin, change daily. Baguettes and brioche line the shelves, too.
An eight-item breakfast menu goes all day. The petit déjeuner is a French “big breakfast”. The slightly out-of-left-field vegetarian mushroom tartine is topped with crispy tofu. Of course, you can also order “eggs your way”.
Every cuisine has its defining dishes. “When you go to a Thai restaurant, you try its pad thai, right?” Nababan asks. “You have to try our croque monsieur,” a baked white-bread sandwich filled with gruyere, smoked ham and topped with béchamel. Morning cocktails and bubbles kick in from 9am.
The recently installed chargrill reigns supreme in the bistro. It’s prompted the addition of a charcoal-fired steaks list. Find hints of the chefs' new toy in existing dishes, too. And the bistro’s sweet offerings have doubled; the boulangerie moonlights as a dessert kitchen.
26 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide
Tue to Sun 8am–3pm, 6pm–late