Corelli’s is a bit of an institution. It seems to have been there forever, on its corner surrounded by the Newtown school and the Greek church. I always imagine it as a place frequented by hardcore Newtownians. The people who only ever creep out into the daylight after midday, all skinny jeans, stringy hair, and bloodshot eyes, desperate for a fix of eggs and coffee before they can even start to think about what plans they need to make for the next night’s debauchery.
That’s certainly what I was expecting when Strop and I rocked up, ready for a lunchtime breakfast. But my fantasies melted away when the long-haired dude at the next table, looking very rock’n’roll, with a fist full of rings that Keith Richards would have been proud of, chatted to his mate about the price of air-conditioning units, rather than the price of drugs. And at the table on the other side of us, the conversation was all about divorce. Oh dear. In a week that saw Newtown reduced to a prop for a Coldplay music video, I suppose it is clear that the place is changing, but I had held out hope that Corelli’s would be a bastion of the old guard.
We sat outside, just off King Street, beside the entrance to the school, underneath umbrellas. I thought we were going to be cold but as soon as we sat down, the sun came out and we started taking off layers of clothing and being grateful for the shade. Aah, midwinters day in Sydney – glad to see there is an upside to climate change – personally I’m quite looking forward to the arrival of Rockhampton’s climate. I wonder if we can get them to hold onto their cane toads though.
We ordered coffees first. They arrived very hot (too hot to hold in a latte glass, which is why god invented cups with handles), and my flat white was doing a remarkable impersonation of a cappuccino.
The menu is pretty much what you’d expect. There were no great surprises or innovations, so Strop set about surprising everyone by ordering the Vego Works Brekkie with bacon instead of vegetarian sausages (shudder). This caused the waiter some consternation but proved to be a master-stroke, because with this conceptual leap, she ended up with everything a regular Works Brekkie had, plus corn fritters and yummy relish. I was frankly jealous as I surveyed my plain-jane regular Works. My orange juice was fine but Strop’s carrot, pineapple and ginger seemed short on pineapple and long on ginger, but then it is mid-winter and we aren’t Rockhampton quite yet.
The poached eggs were excellent with the orange-iest yolks I have seen in quite a while. The coffee was good but not great. The bacon could have been crispier, but that’s just how I like it. All in all it was a good breakfast but not a particularly memorable one. Mind you that could be down to Strop and I only having each other for company.