Julio, North Fitzroy

Where: Cnr Miller and Ida Streets North Fitzroy

Contact: (03) 9489 7814

When: Daily 7:30-4pm

Dine-in/Take-away

Pricing: Mains under $15

Payment: Cash

Vego :) :)

Even if you’re not old enough to get the Paul Simon reference, Julio still comes off as a clever little café. There’s a carefully thought-out feeling of serenity in the homely corner-shop location. On a sunny day the light filters in through the open windows and doors and warms the sleepy wooden furnishings. It feels a bit like your cool Aunty’s sunny lounge room, complete with old cat sleeping on the chairs (I’m not sure if he/she’s a resident or visitor). The staff have a very low-key, friendly approach but are still happy to make recommendations and provide helpful menu information, should you feel like stalling them for some reason.  

The food is hit and miss as I will endeavour to explain, but one thing that you can count on is the consistently high quality of the ingredients. Special care is taken to ensure food is primarily organic, fresh and free range. Where things start to slide is when your order begins to rely on excellent chef-work rather than just good produce. For example I ordered the special which consisted of poached eggs, toast and a handmade rosti in a tomato sauce. It was incredibly bland all over; the rosti was a dry lump of unseasoned potato, even its crispy shell offered no flavour. The tomato sauce was again mono-flavoured which did the mildness of the poached eggs no justice. Also a failure was the tortilla (Spanish omelette) which lacked flavour and texture all over. Chances are you’ll be quite cranky after spending $12.50 on these underwhelming eggs and tomato.

However it isn’t all bland and overpriced… usually when I visit I order the bizarrely named ‘bikini’ which is basically just a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, but it blows me away every time. It is completely delicious because of the quality of the ham, cheese and bread. I’m pretty sure there are lashings of melted butter involved also. This little meal is really where Julio shines, with simple ingredients simply put together, it is consistently excellent every time I order it.  The size is also acceptable, with plenty to enjoy it‘s $7.80 well spent. I order it with a pot of tea which is generously oversized, capable of three big cups for $4.50. However, be warned that despite what The Age tells you, the coffee is not the best in Melbourne. Although well put-together, its as weak as a little baby.

For the sweet-fiend there is also a quaint selection of little cakes which look good, although I never have room for them after breakfast, which may be good or bad depending on how you see it. If someone out there does have room for the cakes at Julio I would be very interested to hear how they went. 

Julio is worth your time but it is important to keep it simple for both your tastebuds and your wallet. Otherwise you could end up paying $40 for two breakfasts and coffees like a sucker. I know because it happened to me. 

Food: 3/5 

Service: 4/5

Ambience: 4/5

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