If you want to know how serious a cafe is about coffee, one way to check is to ask what kind of milk it’s using. At Cavalier Specialty Coffee it’s jersey milk, the Wagyu beef of the milk world. It’s expensive, but if you want to make the best latte possible, that’s what you do.
Owners Harry Kolotas and Anthony Lofaro approach everything with the same attitude. “It’s about believing in what you do,” says Kolotas.
Before Cavalier, Kolotas worked in fine dining. He wanted better hours so he quit and worked in speciality coffee shops until he had enough knowledge to do it himself. Cavalier brings both of those worlds into the very small cafe. “I didn’t feel like you could get that before. It was all poached eggs; smoked salmon; fennel, which is great, but people are looking for more these days,” says Kolotas.
The cafe looks like a copper-filled underground bunker that has been seamlessly transported into a sunny shopfront. The menu consists of three large plates, three small plates and two sandwiches and salads. The large plates are elaborate, beautiful constructions, such as a creamy, eggless, trifle-topped French toast dish that looks like a fairy garden.
Another large plate has a perfect dome of caviar-topped salmon skirted by an intricate arrangement of poached eggs, beetroot yoghurt, black-garlic mayonnaise and shards of toasted rye. The small plates include chia pudding; a pumpkin-hummus spread; or a simple ham-and-cheese jaffle.
The coffee comes from Byron Bay roasters Marvel Street Coffee. If you’re getting black there’ll also be a guest coffee from a roaster such as Artificer, Sample or Small Batch. On weekends there’s a roaming coffee nerd whose only role is to pour, and provide lessons in, filter coffee. “When people think black coffee, they think bitter, but it’s not. Filter is the most pure way to taste its flavour,” says Kolotas.
Cavalier Speciality Coffee
34 Oxley Street, St Leonards
Tue to Fri 6.30am–3pm
Sat & Sun 8am–2pm