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Brunswick St Alimentari

Where: 251 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065

Contact: 03 9416 2001


Open: Breakfast Mon-Sun 8am-4pm

Payment: EFTPOS, Visa, Mastercard

Diet: Soy, Gluten free

Seating: Inside and outside

Kids: Welcome

Pets: Welcome

Queen of Fitzroy's heart

words by Ellie Parker
photos by Albert Comper

It's dawn on a Saturday morning in Brunswick St, Fitzroy. If ever there was a time and place for a walk of shame it's here and now. At this hour the streets are inhabited by a despicable set of defeated, deflated humans, slowly coming to terms with the series of small decisions that lured them from the city's sparkly lights to Fitzroy's sundry gutters. Shoes in hands, hearts in mouths, they're learning for the first time (or maybe the seventh) that regret has a particular taste.

For once in my life I happen to be sober, not at all regretful and most importantly, able to walk down the road with my shoes on my feet. I'm pushing a pram mind you, which explains a lot. Turns out, I'm not alone. Other prams start emerging from the side streets, driven by weary dads who've been given the Saturday morning shift. We all seem to be heading to the same destination - Alimentari's front door. We're in desperate need of a smooth caffeine shot, preferably directly into our collective parental eyeballs. We need comfort food and a reprieve from the endless backstreet roaming.

Ever since 1998, Alimentari has been Brunswick Street's safety house. Linda Malcolm and husband, chef Paul Jones deliver an old fashioned style of hospitality. A beautiful, old school deli brims with favourites (house-made dolmades, meatballs, arancini, salads that you actually want to eat), whilst the back room extension provides a, ‘I'm pretty much sitting in someone's living room' relaxedness that is perfect for snoozy morning meals. The menu and the staff are on the same page - it's honest, there's no wank. It welcomes prams at sparrow's fart, hangovers well after noon and everything in between.

Classic breakfasts are made with love, care. The semolina porridge with fruit compote and flecks of nutmeg is a creamy triumph. It avoids being boring which is half the battle when it comes to the old white sludge and the fruits have been poached to perfection. The scrambled eggs with Persian fetta, dukkah and wilted spinach is one of those meals that just nails it. The eggs are a silken, flopsy mound of bright yellow and the slightly salted spinach is spectacular. Hot tip: for those entering after midday, go straight for the pork and veal meatballs, spicy tomato sauce, cheesy polenta - not a classic breakfast (it's on the lunch menu), but one of the brightest breakfast stars I've had in a while. Total satisfaction.

Alimentari is what it is. There's calm and class. Babies are silenced with high chairs and nutella-smeared toast, whilst parents are satiated by endless cups of the black stuff. You could spend hours here, and some do. It's a formula that puts it head and shoulders above Fitzroy's motley crew of mostly-phonies. If Fitzroyalty actually exists, Alimentari is queen.

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