This is fucked. The best new restaurant that opened in Fitzroy in the past year (in my opinion), B’Stilla Cantina, has closed (along with its southside parent restaurant). Apparently at the main venue they’re going to rebrand and redo the restaurant annually. Sounds like a colossal waste of time and money to me. They’ve said nothing about B’Stilla Cantina, but it’s gone after trading for about 10 months.

A review through their Facebook page reveals a new ‘bar menu’ was introduced in early August, their posts are all about cocktails and the space is now called Little Hop. The signage is gone and the facade has received a new red coat of paint.

With respect to Palinka, Saba’s, the Stone hotel, the new Marquis of Lorne, Miss Katie’s, Mighty Boy, Major Major, Archie’s All Day, Sir Charles and many others, nothing else has impressed me or made such an addition to the variety of food in Fitzroy as B’Stilla Cantina: a different cuisine and a clever use of an existing small space (the original home of the now mega chain San Churro).

bstilla-cantina-closed B’Stilla Cantina has closed

You can group most of the above into two categories: pretentious cafes where food is presented as art and gentrified pubs. Both have a hipster influence. In contrast, food announcing itself having an origin, a tradition, is rarer and thus more precious.

I like originality, like that on offer at Shifty Chevre, a wine and cheese bar. There’s only one of those in Fitzroy. There are other bars specialising in rum, tequila and Australian made artisinal spirits and jaffles. Cute.

Of course not every original thing works. The G&Tea gin bar looked like an awkward failure (though it is apparently being relaunched) and its popup replacement, Bob’s Hot Box, didn’t seem to survive its planned opening period.

As far as a customer can tell, B’Stilla Cantina didn’t fail as such. It was often busy and was positively reviewed. But it evidently didn’t meet its owners’ financial projections, or was possibly just an experiment that was not expected to endure.

There was only one Moroccan restaurant in Fitzroy, and now it’s gone. If you value diversity, consider spending some of your socialising money at venues with some originality. Recommended recent openings providing different cuisines include Hungarian (Palinka) and Ethiopian (Saba’s).

B’Stilla Cantina has closed

10 thoughts on “B’Stilla Cantina has closed

  • 28 September 2015 at 9:13 am
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    Absolutely agree. This is my absolute favourite in the area, and I would end up there at least every fortnight. Was always surprised to see it empty, their food was spot and was amazing value. Devastated.

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  • 28 September 2015 at 10:08 am
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    Damn shame, always had friendly staff and the food was tasty and original.

    I remember they had alot of issues getting the gas installed for their grill there by the window.

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  • 29 September 2015 at 9:20 pm
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    Brian in the interests of diversity we have tried to pay a visit to Los Amatos in Johnston Street for breakfast or lunch on numerous occasions but it seemed to be never open. Had a look in the window last weekend and it looks like another one that might close. So crossed the road and had a coffee at Leche which was good. How long will they last?

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    • 29 September 2015 at 10:53 pm
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      I’ve never gone for breakfast there but I’d be surprised if it was struggling as it always seems full at night.

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  • 29 September 2015 at 9:36 pm
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    Should have added that we now walk a bit further to Casa Ciucca? 15 Gertrude street for a similar Spanish, South American cuisine when we want something a bit different.

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  • 30 September 2015 at 5:51 am
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    I don’t know that Casa Ciuccio would really qualify as South American cuisine. In any case, we haven’t been back there since the place changed hands and they jacked the prices up.

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    • 30 September 2015 at 9:34 am
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      It was pricey before, and now it’s even more so? Ouch.

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  • 5 October 2015 at 9:33 pm
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    I wanted to follow up on comments on how expensive the Casa is.

    I went back to Casa Ciuccio in Gertrude Street after being forced to attend the Grand Final Parade on Friday. My in laws are mad Hawks people, not me of course. The CBD was a mad house, so we decided to head back to our local base. Anyway penalty rates not withstanding we found the Casa was open and we ordered our usual light lunch. This time I took particular attention of the price and $21 for two for food seems reasonable to me. I am talking an empanada for $5, a Cubano roll $10 and small grain salad $6. Is that over priced?

    Well yes I can get basic fare for much less elsewhere but it is more Aussie style quantity over quality.

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    • 6 October 2015 at 2:09 pm
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      I think people have confused Casa Ciuccio (nighttime, expensive) and sibling venue next door Cantina della Casa (inexpensive, daytime).

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      • 9 October 2015 at 5:05 pm
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        I think you’ve got it.

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