What is a cafe? Is it defined by the opening hours? Whether or not coffee is served? Or is it the style of food served?

It’s all up in the air at Cavalier 2.0 – the new Clarke Lane digs for Cavalier Speciality Coffee in St Leonards.

On the menu is a house-made smoked ricotta-burrata hybrid with Jerusalem artichoke crisps, a mac’n’cheese made with mushroom cream and 24-month parmesan, and a 12-hour slow-cooked beef cheek with a Romanesco-like almond and capsicum dip. There’s wine, craft beers and a seasonal fermented juice. In other words, not your average cafe offering.

Co-owner Harry Kolotas (he runs Cavalier with partner Sara) wonders if he should call it a “daytime restaurant”. “We just want to push the boundaries of what a cafe should be,” he says.

The second version of Cavalier has the same philosophy as the now-closed original venue, which was located a few blocks away. The food is executed in much the same way, too, and some of the dishes have carried over, such as Harry’s textural passionfruit tiramisu; the cheese and ham jaffle; and the poached chicken, sprouts, quinoa and kumara salad. Coffee is still from Byron Bay boutique Marvell Street Coffee Roasters.

They haven’t gone for the standard white-tile fit-out, either, opting instead for a palette of Australian dessert colours mixed with timber and concrete. “We needed a cafe that could transition into a restaurant. We went through four interior designers to get what we wanted,” says Harry, who eventually chose Decor Project.

From September, each Saturday Cavalier will host local-only dinners. It’ll start invite-only but will progressively open to more people. “I'm thinking small plates, 10 to 12 courses, but [not done] slow. We're not doing five-hour services, I can't stand that.”

Cavalier 2.0
Clarke Lane 96, 97/545 Pacific Highway, St Leonards

Mon to Fri 7am–2.30pm
Sat 7am–2pm


This article first appeared on Broadsheet on August 17, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.