Annandale's newish local provides some welcome alternatives to your run-of-the-mill fry-up
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It's the little things that count in a café breakfast. Once we've found a seat at Clover's massive central table a savvy waiter addresses our most pressing need and we are furnished with fresh passionfruit and lime sodas to ward of the worst of the mid-morning heat. Something between a soft drink and a juice but with less sugar than either, it's a refreshing alternative to coffee. If you prefer your beverages pip-free there's also a spectacular watermelon and orange juice that looks like a sunrise in a glass. The initial hit of vitamins revives us from a deep humidity torpor but we're sadly still not quite able to man up for the Clover baked breakfast hot pot – a tagine of breakfast treats like cured chorizo, sumac beans, onion marmalade and goats cheese, bound together with baked organic eggs. It's not for the faint hearted.
Opened just over a year ago, Clover is owned and run by chef Aaron Callander, who cashed in his restaurant in the wilds of Sumatra for the suburban charms of the Annandale café scene. Callander seems to really, really like labne. Here, the Greek dish of strained yoghurt is served on Ryvitas (healthy!) with smoked salmon, avocado, salsa verde and thin ribbons of cucumber. Feeling virtuous? Stay on the path and order the Clover fruit platter as well. Seasonal fruits (on our visit it's orange, mango, passion fruit, strawberries, apple, nashi pear, blueberries, grapes and kiwi fruit) are nearly bouncing of the plate with freshness and vitality. It's hard to not feel smug after a brekky like this.
They're not afraid of bright colours at Clover; from the walls to the food there's not a lot of neutral to be found. The interior puts us in mind of a vintage children’s cubbyhouse, but on this stifling day we opt instead for the outdoor perches in the hopes of catching a wayward breeze. It is clearly a child-friendly place – and it being Annandale you may have to battle with the odd pram posse to get a table, particularly on weekends – but since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, sometimes getting it just right is worth a bit of a wait.