62-64 Kellett Street Potts Point, New South Wales 2011
|Opening hours||Tues-Sun 7am-4pm|
|Phone||02 8354 1544|
Chez Dee has a lot of dining bases covered. Housed in two converted terraces in Potts Point, it's a grocer in one half, selling everything from fruit and vegetables to teapot-shaped biscuit cutters. In the other, it's a cafe-by-day, wine-bar-by-night and, if the brunch crowd on a busy Saturday morning is anything to go by, the community has embraced it wholeheartedly.
On the cafe's ground floor, a large communal table dominates the space. It's packed so we are seated out the front on a little verandah, on wooden crate-like seats with a low table in between. Our fellow diners include older family groups, couples, gymgoers and thirtysomething friends with their dogs in tow.
Our coffee orders come quickly - a strong and smooth brew courtesy of another Potts Point business, Gypsy Espresso - then we get the menu options. A seasonal-produce focus means dishes can change daily so we are told what's available rather than having a menu to peruse. It's a bit much for our pre-food, pre-coffee brains and a series of questions ensues, but we get there.
It's surprisingly tranquil out front given that the traffic on nearby Ward Street doesn't let up, and there's a live soundtrack of birdsong from magpies and currawongs. It is a bit chilly though, so, the moment an inside table becomes available, we shift. We're ushered upstairs into a boudoir-esque room decorated with hanging Moroccan lamps. There are couches and ottomans to sit on, low metal tables and a day bed in a nook in the wall.
We settle in to wait for our meals. It's a fairly long one - about 40 minutes - but we're pretty darn comfortable on the couch, surrounded by cushions and with classical music playing in the background.
Our meals are served with an apology from the wait staff, and it's not the first we've heard recited upstairs - a busy Saturday in the kitchen, perhaps? I visit again during a quieter Sunday lunch and things aren't as frenetic, although the service is still a bit haphazard.
For brunch we tuck in to a piece of sourdough bread topped with fresh sardines and a shaved fennel salad. If only the tinned variety tasted this good.
The poached eggs are a signature breakfast here. The eggs arrive on the right side of runny, which puts a smile on the face of my hungry dining companion. Served on a piece of toast with mushrooms, they are topped with a creamy but sharp hollandaise sauce.
From the lunch options a frittata with tomato, kipfler potato and zucchini is a pretty standard affair and sadly has an unpleasant, thick, eggy skin on top. But the rocket, tomato and parmesan salad is so delicious I wish I'd ordered a double serve.
For dessert, it's a little muffin-size serve of Christmas cake, full of the spices of the season and generous with the almonds. It promises a lot but under delivers, because it is pretty dry.
Though the food and service are hit-and-miss during my visits, Chez Dee's popularity is easy to understand. It is relaxed and comfy, the menu has some good dishes and you can pick up supplies on the way out - salads, afternoon tea or a gift. With groups of regulars greeted by name, it seems they've got the neighbourhood thing down pat.
Seasonal cafe fare.
Good. Porridge $8.50; poached eggs $14.50; sardines $11; toast with ricotta and jam $5.50; salad $7.70; juice $6.50; coffee $3.50.
Rocket, parmesan and cherry tomato salad; sardines on toast; coffee.
62 Kellett Street, Potts Point, 8354 1544
Tue-Wed, 7am-7.30pm; Thu-Fri, 7am-11pm;
Sat, 8am-midnight; Sun, 8am-8pm