Here’s a slow-burn trend: fine-dining chefs shunning the white tablecloth game in favour of something more casual. We’ve seen Harry Kolotas do it at Cavalier 2.0 in St Leonards, Clayton Wells at A1 Canteen in Chippendale, and Lee Li (formerly of Tetsuya’s and Kensington Street Social) at Meet Mica in Surry Hills.

In May 2019 Pyrmont’s Calla, a first-time venue from Max Bean (Est, The Bridge Room, Restaurant Mason) and Vicki Melitas (Palings, Bar Topa, Little Bistro), joined the line-up.

They didn’t really want to run a regular cafe either. There’s not a single poached egg in sight – instead it’s brown-butter scrambled eggs and house-made pork sausages. The closet thing to avo on toast is the sourdough stack of heirloom cherry tomatoes, caramelised garlic puree (some customers are encouraging them to sell it by the jar), fermented chilli and whipped ricotta. And that’s just the cafe-standard half of the menu.

Then there’s the unexpected fare, like the house-made smoked-salmon terrine and the breakfast crème brûlée topped with candied granny smith apple, cranberry jam and a crumbed, seed-filled biscuit. Besides that terrine dish, everything’s priced under $20 too.

Calla's been open for dinner on Thursday and Friday nights since September 2019. The dinner menu changes every two weeks, responding mainly to the seasons. Most nighttime menus are cooked over coals using Calla's charcoal grill.

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Updated: September 16th, 2019

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