Friends who threw paper planes at each other in school have ended up business partners in the sophisticated cafe, Marcelle. Co-owner, Nigel Rae, and best friend, Andrew Stals, cemented their friendship along with Andrew’s wife, Gillian, by making their dream of opening a business together a reality.
Nigel has been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, both in Australia and overseas. After a stint at Perisher Valley Hotel, he returned to Sydney with a growing passion to open his own cafe, placing an emphasis on consistently great coffee and high quality French food. Couple this with Gillian’s experience in law and business and Marcelle was born.
It has just been given a fresh makeover, courtesy of local designer, Gary Skinner, who has injected white-tiled walls, exposed bulbs and natural timber finishes into the airy space, resulting in dimly lit and cozy interiors. A front-and-centre counter displays pastries and other baked goods from Brasserie Bread, tempting passers-by.
If the pastries don’t catch you, the wafting smell of Allpress coffee will. Marcelle uses the full-bodied and distinctly caramel-flavoured Carmelo Blend for white coffees.
It consists of beans from Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Sumatra, with the Brazilian and Sumatran beans providing the base of the blend. The Colombian and Guatemalan beans deliver chocolate and caramel flavours and are the main sources of acidity. If dairy is your enemy but coffee your friend, Bonsoy and almond milk are also on offer.
Short and long black aficionados will appreciate the long, fruit flavours and spicy finish of the Full City Blend, used for black coffees. It combines the rich body and sweetness of Brazil beans with the fruity acidity of beans from Ethiopia and Kenya.
Non-coffee drinkers, don’t despair: the non-caffeinated options are nothing to sneeze at. The salted caramel milkshake is almost a meal on its own, while the house-made chai tea with ginger and spices will transport you to the sub-Asian continent in just one sip. Tea devotees will love the organic teas by Ovvio and the house-made hot lemon and ginger tea with raspberries.
You’ll find another ten reasons to stay in the form of the wholesome French menu, designed by a one-hatted chef.
The menu is seasonal, but highlights include sweet polenta porridge with vanilla and raspberries; baked eggs with bacon, tomato and marinated mushrooms; the Reuben toastie with corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and mustard; and the maple-roasted pumpkin salad with Persian feta, rocket, puffed quinoa, orange and pomegranate. Those on the run can also order most menu items to go.
Sitting opposite the iconic El Alamein Fountain on the bustling Macleay Street, Marcelle is the ideal spot to watch the colourful passing parade of Potts Point, coffee in hand.