Dovetail on Overend’s Adam and Rejoice Thomson originally planned to open their second cafe, Dovetail Social, in February 2020. Then, a pandemic happened. The husband-and-wife team finally got to unveil their Highgate Hill sequel to the original in December of that year.
Dovetail's second spot is considerably larger than Dovetail on Overend in Norman Park, which opened in 2014. The original has become an east-side favourite, especially for gluten-free diners (Adam is coeliac). The Norman Park cafe has 18 seats on the footpath only, while there is up to triple the capacity in this spot, with seating inside and outside in the garden.
Housed in an old Queenslander on Laura Street (formerly home to Saint Laura café), the Thomsons have given the space a fresh coat of paint, knocked down part of a wall to open the space up, and made some additions to the garden area, including a mural painted by local artist Janine Reserva. The space feels very warm and inviting, as if you’ve walked into the Thomson’s own home.
The menu is almost the same as that at Norman Park, with favourites such as baked eggs (with beef chili con carne, Persian feta and sourdough); a classic Reuben sandwich (pastrami, sauerkraut, gruyere cheese, homemade Russian dressing sauce inside toasted rye bread with New York style pickle); 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). A Highgate Hill-only addition is a toasted breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs, bacon and special sauce.
This site also features an old-fashioned high-tea room with antique chairs, a chandelier and retro wallpaper. And people can book out the six-seat room in advance. The high tea menu includes house-baked gluten-free treats such as pistachio macarons, salted caramel cream puffs, classic scones and Dovetail on Overend favourite, Filipino ube leche flan cake (purple yam cake with crème caramel).
For milk-based coffees, the Thomsons have developed a blend with local coffee roaster Almanac. As for black coffee, single origins from a number of different roasters, including Villino in Hobart, rotate regularly.