Since opening in 2014, Dovetail on Overend has built a reputation as one of the south side’s best cafes, especially for gluten-free diners. Now husband and wife team Adam and Rejoice Thomson are expanding with a second, much larger spot in Highgate Hill next month.
“We’ve been thinking about [opening another cafe] for a couple of years,” Adam says. “We still love our [18-seater] in Norman Park, but felt we needed more space to spread our wings.”
The Highgate Hill cafe – on the site of the former Saint Laura cafe, in an old Queenslander on Laura Street – will have around three times the amount of seating as Norman Park, both inside and outside. (The original only has seating out front on the footpath.)
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The Thomsons will keep the fit-out minimal, giving the interior a lick of fresh paint and knocking down a post in the middle of the cafe to open the space up. Each room in the house will serve a different purpose – one will be used as a high-tea room, one as a baking room, and another as a “merchandise room”. The latter will be dedicated to sharing the story of Dovetail, with framed photos of past and present staff on the walls.
With a larger kitchen, the Thomsons can serve a bigger menu that continues to accommodate gluten-free diners. Expect favourites from Norman Park such as the baked eggs (with beef chilli con carne, Persian feta and toasted sourdough) and the adobo bowl (braised chicken and pork served with coconut curry, oyster mushrooms, devilled eggs and toasted garlic on a bed of garlic fried rice), as well as more Filipino dishes.
Rejoice, who was born in the Philippines and moved to Australia in 2007, uses family recipes and puts her own twist on them. “We really want to [utilise] more of Rejoice’s Filipino heritage and showcase those influences in our food,” says Adam. One new dish is a rice-based breakfast bowl, served with either longganisa (a Filipino sausage) or bistek tagalog (thinly sliced marinated beef).
A cabinet will be filled with Dovetail’s signature range of gluten-free doughnuts, including a purple ube-yam doughnut topped with a mini pavlova and crème caramel, bibingka (a Filipino rice cake), and muffins. Almanac Coffee Roasters will continue to be used for milk coffees, while rotating single origins will be used for black.
Dovetail Highgate Hill will open at 49 Laura Street in late February.