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.

piccante1 breakfast at Piccante Caffe on St George's Rd

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.

piccante3 breakfast at Piccante Caffe on St George's Rd

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.

piccante2 breakfast at Piccante Caffe on St George's Rd

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.

breakfast at Piccante Caffe on St George’s Rd

One thought on “breakfast at Piccante Caffe on St George’s Rd

  • 5 September 2009 at 10:34 pm

    The first time we went to Piccante it was really nice. I actually did not think the coffee was better than average but that’s ok, it was fine, and we’d walked in knowing nothing about it so were grateful not to have awful coffee.

    Thus we returned a few weeks later around the same time of day. The coffee was the same as before, which as I say is perfectly acceptable. But the service was so bad that we did not stay for the food so I can’t comment.

    I was on the phone and my partner in the bathroom when the waitress came to clear the cups of coffee. We both like to spoon out the dregs and foam, so I asked her politely (while trying to maintain my phonecall) to leave them.

    She disputed it! She said “why on earth would you want them, they’re empty?” And then decided she would leave the other dishes on the other end of the communal table because clearly I wanted all dirty dishes to come to me. This was incredibly rude and over the top. I tried to explain and then the other waitress told me *I* was being rude by insisting she leave the cups without a “good reason” I ask you?

    The only place I ever needed a thesis to keep a coffee cup. We were out of there and refused to pay for the meal (which had taken a while and wasn’t yet ready).

    Not going back.


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