Tue – Sun: 7am – 11pm
Coffee: St Ali, Single Origin
“If you were asked to describe what St Kilda looked like, what words would you use? I see St Kilda like an illegitimate child from a rich family with a grungy past that can’t be shaken off. The child would have been raised in a perfect house. Upon becoming a teenager, rebellious acts such sneaking into bars and getting smashed, starting some sort of rock band, wearing lots of leather and passing out outside a club would take place. When St Kilda becomes a young man/woman, it starts to develop a taste for fine food, beaches, babes and fashion. St Kilda would want a place where it could party like it was 1999, be next to the beach and enjoy good food around the corner. One such fine cafe that St Kilda would eat brunch in would be Fitzrovia.
Fitzrovia is visually alluring from all angles. From the front of it looks like a glass house which allows ample natural light to shine into the long and tall barista station. Once inside and up the stairs Fitzrovia turns into a modern dining area with warm lighting, nicely arranged food supplies, decor and light art work. The fascinating element to Fitzrovia is it’s completely open kitchen. There is no hidden door, peep-hole or cooking space shoved out the back of the premise. The Fitzrovia kitchen does the full monty, like a young St Kilda running naked along the beach. There are pots and pans hanging down above the preparation tables with all the necessary kitchenware. The best part is looking at the chefs and cooks as they work like German clockwork to prepare your brunch.
Whether you’re young or old, classy or grungy, coffee plays an important part for all. Fitzrovia provide their source of substance from St Ali Champion Blend [$2.50]. I have reviewed this blend before, however while the quality was very similar the flavouring was a little off. This isn’t to say my long black was a flop. On the contrary it was a lovely long black. However, in terms of flavour it didn’t get full points. There was a lovely crisp taste but it was difficult to identify the main taste.
While I like to think of myself as giving all new things a go, sometimes you just can’t go passed the classics. Having browsed the menu I couldn’t let go what Creme brulee French toast with fresh cherries, maple, roasted pistachios and rhubarb mascarpone [$15.50] would taste like. The plating was second to none. The bread had a lovely soft texture with the egg mixture well soaked throughout. It had a lovely fluffy taste which went well with the rhubarb mascarpone. The sweet and fluffy textures of this dish worked wonders. To top this off, the cherries and the pistachios were a great addition.
The food was fantastic and the coffee was great. However, I was left in an uncomfortable state. We were with a group of five and the camera does at times rub people the wrong way. The staff were nice and attentive but behaved more like they were in a restaurant rather than an easy-going cafe. This makes sense given Fitzrovia goes beyond the brunch scene and take pride with every meal. There is plenty of reasons to try Fitzrovia and you will just have to try the experience yourself to form your own subjective view.”
“The cafe industry is incestuous and it’s becoming as hard to keep up with as one of Mr LBs favourite televisions shows, Burn Notice. Cafe owners often take up ownership of a cafe and then sell shop within 2 years to move on to their next adventure. Enter Fitzrovia – the latest acquisition by ex-Outpost owner Paul Jewson.
Fitzrovia has a very luxe feel to it, while still maintaining a level of cool about it. A few tables are scattered outside, leading to the ground level entrance where the barista station and cakes are displayed. Up the stairs leads to the main dining area, where the kitchen is tucked to the back – open for all to see. Pots hang from the ceiling, even making the chefs feel like they’re on display. To the left is another dining area, smaller and more intimate.
There was quite a few of us for brunch on this occasion; Mr Pen, Miss M, Mr D, Mr LB and myself all managed to comfortably find a table straight away. Miss M had just returned from the U.S.A so while we got the dirt on all things strange and wonderful about America, I ordered a soy latte to go with my customised meal of Free range eggs served poached on toast with homemade tomato relish [$9] add Istra Daylesford smoked bacon [$4.50], spiced mushrooms [$4] and avocado smash with fetta [$4.50].
When my meal came out it looked marvelous. The mushrooms had an incredible colour and I couldn’t wait to dig in. They were juicy and burst with flavour – but not at all spicy as the name on the menu suggested. The fetta and avocado mash was refreshing to the dish. It was barely noticeable on the palate, but I’m sure it added to the creaminess of it. As always is the case with Istra bacon, it was fatty but oh-so-good!
We were definitely glad that Miss M was back, as she’s the only one who ever orders anything without eggs, this time going for Homemade fig, apricot and hazelnut toast [$9].
Mr Pen and Mr D ordered the Istra Daylesford drycured bacon, smoked mozzarella and pear relish toasted doorstop sandwich [$14].
Overall I thought Fitzrovia was a nice experience. The service was friendly (although the waiters kept giving me odd looks for taking photos) and the food was made with fresh produce. I didn’t feel, however, that Fitzrovia delivered anything particularly outstanding or memorable in terms of their menu. Perhaps lunch is more their area of expertise, but in the brunch stakes I personally think they could challenge their obviously capable chefs. The next time I come here, I’d take on their lunch menu.”
Final thought: “Excellent design-your-own-brunch”