Backstreet Cafe, Fitzroy

Where: 152 Kerr St Fitzroy

When: Weekdays 7am-10:30pm, Weekends 8am-10:30pm

Contact: (03) 9417 1212

CC & EFTPOS available


Fitzroyers may already be savvy to Backstreet Café which opened up on Kerr Street in January. Even if you’re not a local, you’re bound to hear all about it sooner or later, primarily because of the success of its big sister, Birdman Eating just around the corner. Being a big fan of Birdman (It took first place in Lunchosaurus’ Top 5 Melbourne Eats from last year) I was eager to try out Backstreet.

Walking past on Kerr Street, Backstreet’s frontage was not very distinctive and had I not known that the café answered to the same owners as Birdman I would’ve walked right past. The décor; daggy café chairs, wine racks, chalk boards and a noodling saxophone soundtrack give Backstreet a vibe indistinguishable from so many other places. Although I personally feel the design is nothing special, it is clear that it has been made to a high standard. The bathrooms for example, are more like suites with thick doors and enough space to have a small picnic on the floor, or perhaps more practically, change a baby.

On the menu there are some brief parallels with Birdman Eating such as the Boiled eggs with soldiers and a couple of Baked egg options too. However the real draw-card is the meaty options, and there are a lot of them. Downstairs there’s a cellar where all sorts of interesting meats are cured in-house. Adventurous diners will enjoy picking out something they’ve probably never had before, while if you’re a bit of a traditionalist you’ll be safe with the Golden Muffin; Backstreet breaky sausage, fried egg, scamorza and tomato sauce for $11.50. I was pleased to find that said muffin was tre sophisticated, for a muffin. The sausage (more like a delicious salty beef patty) was nestled amongst the perfectly balanced flavours of the stretchy scamorza and delicate tomato sauce. Most importantly the muffin itself was dense, soft and doughy. Egg McMuffin I think not.

I also got my teeth into the “Egg and Bacon” Kassler, Grunkohl and toast with sous-vide egg. ($17.50) Or “Cured, smoked pork, cabbage and slow-cooked poached egg”, in Layman’s terms. The cooked cabbage or Grunkohl looked like a strange sort of seaweed and carried an unusual bitter taste. The pork was a thick pillowy cut with intense smoky, salty flavours. And egg came cold (not sure if this was intentional) in a shot glass with a dash of olive oil to slug on top of whichever part of your breakfast you desired. While the quality of the Kassler and egg was hard to deny, the competing flavours came across as too powerful for my liking.

Birdman Eating fans will be pleased to know the coffee here is good too, and so is the staff. We were lavished with attentive service and crazy water-refills, so much so that I think I inadvertently drank a litre of water all while trying to finish my single glass. A very pleasant (and hydrating) experience overall. As many reviewers have noted, Backstreet feels more like a dinner place with its unusual savoury menu and wine-stacked shelves. I know I’ll be back for an evening soon.

Food: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Ambiance: 3/5

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