I really wanted to like Piccante Caffe on St George’s Rd in North Fitzroy when I went there for breakfast recently, but it didn’t work out that way. All is not lost; they could quite easily improve. On a Saturday morning they were almost full to capacity and the staff were busy, but our coffee order was taken quickly and the result was good.
My opinionated companion and I dissected the fashion pages of the bogan press and wondered why a woman felt she looked better when she wore two pairs of tights. I can’t recall whether we blamed post-feminism for this and in any case I digress…
I face a dilemma when reviewing cafes and restaurants. I don’t want to gush if I have a fantastic experience and not give a balanced review. When things are not so good, I don’t want to be purely negative. I realise that a review based on a single visit cannot give a complete representation of a place that may have different kitchen and front of house staff on different days. If I really don’t like a place I often don’t publish anything about it. Piccante Caffe is definitely not that bad.
My eggs eastern (above) consisted of roasted potato and pumpkin with spinach with poached eggs on top with a sprinkling of spice powder. It was quite small and I had no bread to soak up the yummy runny egg. This dish could not compare to the amazing dukkah poached eggs at Enni in Thornbury.
My friend’s scrambled tofu with chutney, mushrooms and spinach (above) suffered from too much vinegary chutney overpowering the dish. She thought the fluffy Turkish bread was ordinary, and would have preferred some sourdough from one of the excellent bakeries nearby.
Finally, when we ordered our food we also asked for water, which was forgotten and only arrived well after we had finished our meal. None of these things alone is serious, but overall they undermine a place that clearly has potential. The coffee is good and the menu has some promising sounding dishes on it. Like Grumpy’s Green, Piccante Caffe is surrounded by established quality providers and it will need to do better in order to survive.
Finally, this is of course merely one opinion. Ninjaspew on Flickr has posted a great photo of the napoli meatballs and poached eggs from Piccante and evidently likes breakfast without toast.