Napier Quarter | Restaurant | Best Breakfast | Melbourne Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Napier Quarter HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Open: Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +61 3 9416 0666
Address: 359 Napier St
Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065
Country: Australia

Napier Quarter is a jewel of a restaurant, hidden away in the quiet back streets of Fitzroy. It is the type of restaurant that everyone craves for in their local neighbourhood. The service is slick yet friendly, the food is delicious and servings are perfectly sized, the coffee is serious and the wine selection sees some emerging local stars featured alongside some international offerings.
As you approach this corner location you will see a few tables outside but little signage (the name on the window above the door, "espresso on one window and "wine bar" on another) to alert you to the treats within.

Napier Quarter outside view

Once inside you will see the busy coffee machine dominating the counter, several small tables and some window bench space. Staff will soon either seat you or tell you how long it will be before a table is likely to be available.

On our most recent visit we were seated quickly and our order for two espresso coffees was also taken at the same time. We were also promptly provided with water and the breakfast menu. To talk about the menu we must first talk about the breakfast experience in a broader sense.

Breakfast, to us, can be one of the most enjoyable meals of the day. The anticipation of each new day and what it will bring, is framed by the breakfast experience. So we also want it to be an interesting and enjoyable encounter.

We were very lucky for approximately ten years to have a cafe called Tricycle close to our office in Hobart. We would call in there two or three times a week for either breakfast or lunch to enjoy dishes that were cooked with skill and where the plate wasn't groaning under the weight of the food. Maybe it would be a deeply-flavoured congee topped with interesting condiments, or perfectly prepared eggs (scrambled or lightly boiled were our favourites).

We also fondly remember a tiny cafe called Betsy in Hobart where the servings were also perfectly sized and perfectly cooked.

In both these cases the eggs were cooked to order and cooked properly. Scrambled eggs are one of the dishes most often done badly in restaurants. They should be soft and creamy - not the consistency of leather. The same applies to soft-boiled eggs!

We would also like to comment on the size of breakfast dishes. Large breakfasts are fine in rural communities where you are going out to do hard, manual work in the fields and probably only going to have a light lunch. When we are faced with massive serves at breakfast our hearts sink!

One final observation is that it is fine to have one or two sweet dishes on a breakfast menu because we know that many people eat sugar-laden cereals in the morning. However, our observation is that there is an increasing number of cafes in Australia following the American trend of having every dish with a sweet element.

So these are some of the observations that make us so fond of Napier Quarter. Consider the menu shown below.

Napier Quarter Breakfast Menu

You will notice that the food items are classified into four section of Pastry, Porridge, Toast and Eggs. Only one of these, the porridge, has a sweet component. The two dishes we ordered were uncompromisingly savoury.

Napier Quarter Nettle Omelette

The 3 egg omelette with stinging nettle and pecorino was soft in the centre, packed with flavour and not too large. It was delightful. The excellent toast served with it was accompanied by some very tasty house-made butter.

Napier Quarter Anchovies, Egg and Parsley on Toast

This dish saw two or three of the famous Cuca anchovies topping a mound of sliced, hard-boiled egg that was covered by chopped parsley, all sitting on a slice of buttered toast. The size was perfect, the flavour was complex and everything was in balance. Thankfully, not a hint of sweetness in sight.

There were also some wine offerings chalked on a board above our heads. We were delighted to see some of Australia's emerging winemakers featured.

Napier Quarter White Wines

As can be seen from the white wine list the flavour-packed wines of Manon from the Basket Ranges in South Australia are featured and in the red wines we were also delighted to see a wine from talented young WA winemaker Sam Vinciullo.

Napier Quarter is one of the best breakfast venues in Australia.

 - Independent commentary on the Web since 1996

Copyright | Disclaimer| Privacy Policy