Offering a consistent cup of Campos Coffee and lots of space for friends and families to spread out, Bellagio Cafe is located on the Bronte Road in Waverley.
The beach isn’t far away, but the cafe is set back enough to enjoy not only a burst of touristic business in the summer but year-round relationships with locals. It caters to both the work crowd, furnishing plenty of private indoor spaces, and the beach crowd, offering healthy and hearty lunch options with lots of homemade touches, from pickles and jams to smoked meats. Husband and wife, Felix Clark and Corinna Kovner, own and operate Bellagio Cafe, and, together with their staff, they serve breakfast, brunch, and lunch daily.
With a strong background in pubs, bars and nightclubs, Felix opened Bellagio Cafe in 2004, and it is his first venture. His search for the right location for the cafe was extensive, taking more than a year, and he finally chose the current venue because of its history. The building was once the site of the famous Albion Cycles bike store, and, when Albion Cycles moved out, the landlords opened a cafe in the space. Six months in and with the pending birth of their second child, the landlords put the business on the market, and Bellagio Cafe was born.
Initially, with a love of exceptional gastronomy, Felix set about creating a fine-dining menu for dinner as well as a casual menu for breakfast and lunch. “We kept pushing the fine dining aspect of the business in the hope of picking up some kudos from the press and our peers,” said Felix, but this was to no avail. As a result, the cafe scaled back its cuisine to feature top-end cafe cuisine in 2008. “This was when the business started to kick and has been steadily increasing trade since,” said Felix.
Then, Felix met Corinna. A chef and personal trainer, Corrinna joined Bellagio in 2011, and she added another layer of sophistication to the menu. Together, Felix and Corrinna provide the restaurant’s culinary vision, and Anil Thapa serves as head chef. The restaurant offers a good mix of classic ‘fat boy’ breakfasts and healthy lunches, and its sandwiches are some of the biggest in the area. Utilising the slow food cooking philosophy, it makes everything in-house. Don’t miss the signature dish, the Confit Duck and Potato Hash. This decadent dish is so delicious that you won’t mind forgoing bacon with breakfast, and it is served with chilli gremolata, asparagus, and hollandaise sauce.
“We try to nurture the smaller distributer, where possible, to give us a better feeling of the pulse of the market,” said Felix, and the cafe uses lots of fresh produce. It also believes that Campos Coffee is arguably the best in Australia, and head barista Emma Cowan keeps the cappuccinos and lattes coming.
“At Bellagio, we feel that old school hospitality is dying in the world,” said Felix. “Gone are the days when everyone in your town knew your name and conversations were more personal between retailer and customer.” To counteract this trend, Bellagio Cafe aims to get to know each of its customers personally. On your first visit, prepare to be treated like a regular.