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.
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.
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.
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.