Figs and Coffee

North Fitzroy Social is only a week old when I visit, but they’re a thriving newborn so far.

The Five Senses coffee has a chewy depth, with a clean citrus finish. My flat white is well-extracted and superbly combined with soy, which any soyists will know is a feat.

Upcycled wooden boards in North Fitzroy Social

Distressed wooden tables, industrial light-fittings and exposed brick are almost ubiquitous in a certain class of Melbourne cafe, but are pulled off with grace by North Fitzroy Social. The cafe is relaxed, breezy (let’s be clear – there is an air-conditioning pump) and creative.

The menu is a pleasant mixture of unusual and expected. My eye is immediately drawn to the Fig Saltimbocca for $17.50 AUD. It’s like my favourite treats have come together to have a party on the plate. The figs retain their sweet succulence after baking and, like a perfectly played symphony, combine with salty prosciutto, rich blue cheese, peppery rocket and sharp sweet pomegranate seeds for a spectacular finish. If only I could record the smell of it. And what a pleasure it is to encounter a beautiful dish without a slab of bread tacked awkwardly on the side.

Fig SaltimboccaThe wait staff seem happy to be at work and the owners are distinctly relaxed and eager to please. Customers are greeted by name and engaged in conversation as they find their seats.

Crowded across one wall are a row of up-cycled wooden boards, dark brown and brooding. They exude a rough warmth, balanced well against the exposed red bricks on the opposite wall. Two sweet second-hand stools sit underneath the wooden boards, while an anarchy of extra-fat and colourful cushions sit across the bench seat running the length of the opposite wall – I feel a little like a genie settling back against them.

I am surprised and impressed to notice, nestled under those crumbling wooden boards on the wall, unobtrusive black power sockets fitted with USB plugs. This is a cafe dancing with anachronism, but quietly aware of its tech-obsessed clientele.

Kitchen at North Fitzroy Social

Excellent service distinguishes North Fitzroy Social. The staff are warm, genuine and good-humoured. While the coffee, the food and the design are impressive, it’s the people who will bring me back every time. I finish up my visit with a cleansing peppermint tea which gives me an excuse to linger a little longer in my new local.

North Fitzroy Social, Cafe and Panini Bar
189 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
Open: Monday – Friday 7am-4pm,
Saturday – Sunday 7am-5pm
North Fitzroy Social Cafe & Panini Bar on Urbanspoon

North Fitzroy Social interior