TUCKER TAKES UP WHERE PARC LEFT OFFIt’s always a bit heartbreaking when one of your favourite cafes closes its doors, so when I drove down Clovelly Road earlier in the year and saw the windows of Parc cafe boarded up, I must admit to going through a bit of a grieving process.
Parc was a leader in the local café scene, creating dishes not seen elsewhere (hello potato cake), and opening in a suburban location away from the busier shopping strips of the east. It was a destination café before such a thing was cool.
In early March my disappointment was quickly replaced by joy when I returned from a holiday to see the doors of the café formerly known as Parc open once again, though now with the name ‘Tucker’ embossed in gold across its front window. Better still, Parc owners Sam and Michael Kern were inside, busily bussing tables, taking orders, and generally doing their best to control the chaos that generally befits a popular café at lunch time.
While much of the vibe from the days of Parc remains, there are some obvious changes. The first thing you notice when walking in is the greater sense of space. The bulkhead above the kitchen is gone, as is the table for six that once occupied the front window, allowing customers room to peruse and access the diverse range of delicious takeaway meals on display in the three-door fridge that fills the front third of the café’s eastern wall. Above it, a massive takeaway blackboard menu competes for your attention. There’s also new furniture, a brand new kitchen, and a fresh lick of paint, too, but it’s the clear change in the café’s strategy that stands out most.
“It’s nearly 12 years since Parc opened and there are so many other cafes now,” Mike said. “We just felt we needed to change things up to remain competitive and interesting, for us and our locals.
“We’ve seen a big shift in demand towards takeaway meals, so we’ve changed our style of service to suit that.”
Despite the changes, a lot of the old favourites are still on the menu. I’ve been in several times since it reopened and have managed to sample most dishes, and there are plenty of standouts.
For breakfast, my top three picks are the avocado smash with feta, a poached egg and chilli oil on grain toast; the gravlax with poached egg, pickled onion, wasabi cream and rye; and the quinoa bowl with haloumi, pistachio, poached eggs and green dressing. For lunch, the burgers are all delicious, but the fried chicken burger with redslaw and hot aioli is my pick of the bunch. The smoked trout salad with a poached egg, crisp capers, kipfler potato and poppy aioli had my missus salivating, and the pastrami on rye with sauerkraut, mustard and pickle is the pick of the sandwiches.
You’ll pay a bit less if you takeaway rather than eating in, so if it’s a nice day and you feel like a picnic, you can save you a few bob on your bill.
Opening for dinner is on the cards, but a date is yet to be locked down (though late May is the goal).
If you’re a Parc fan and you’re worried that Tucker just won’t be the same, fear not. I assure you that it is better than it has ever been.
Address: 30 Clovelly Rd, Randwick
Phone: (02) 9398 9222
Open: Monday to Friday, 6am-3pm, Saturday 7am-3pm
Prices: Breakfast $12-$18, Lunch $12-$24
Cards Accepted: All major