Dining at Fitzrovia in Melbourne is Back!
Dining at Fitzrovia – a restaurant on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda – is like dining in the home of a good friend.
by Jessica Williams @jsallgoodthings
Diners are greeted with genuine warmth and excitement upon arrival, kitchen smells permeate the restaurant, fresh produce line the stairs like the groceries are yet to be put away (but much more refined) and there is a general vibe of joviality as you pass other diners on the way to your table. The open kitchen at the back of the restaurant adds to this convivial experience.
It appears Fitzrovia was once a Victorian style house. It still retains its multi level build, and the inclusion of wooden furniture - bookshelves stacked with books, wine racks and buffets styled with native plants – make it feel as though the owners not only want to share their food with you, but a piece of their lives as well.
Owner/operators Paul and Marco Jewson, who having lived and travelled extensively through Europe and the UK, settled in Australia, and opened Fitzrovia five years ago. The couple was drawn to opening a restaurant within Victoria because of the state’s beautiful produce and local artisan culture. The pair has created a restaurant that makes locality and seasonal produce shine on the plate, whilst still retaining that touch of European essence.
Many St Kilda locals and Melbournites still remember the disappointment felt when Fitzrovia removed dinner from its offering. “What do you mean we can’t get thrice cooked chips after 4pm?” we cried. Well ladies and gentleman, the chips are back, and they are better than ever.
Yes, the Fitzrovia dinner menu has returned, and dare we say that it’s better than ever? It begins at midday and rolls into the late evening, you might want to consider going for lunch, enjoying some wines and snacks and moving on to dinner. With so many appealing things on the menu, you are going to want to position yourself to be able to try them all.
The Hot and Sour Crisp Salt & Pepper Calamari Salad is hand down the best Calamari Salad we have tried so far. So far from removed from the general pub variety, this zinging dish is made with green papaya, Asian herbs, rice noodles, lime, cashews and a roast chilli dressing.
Other lighter options include Honey roasted heirloom carrot, beetroot, orange and soybean salad, and a beautiful Chickpea and Organic Black Quinoa Falafel served with a rich smoked eggplant caviar and spiced labne – freshness is added with a generous sprinkle of pomegranate.
The larger dishes, like the South Gippsland Milk fed Veal Fillets and the heavenly decadent Free Range Chicken Breast Saltimbocca with Crisp Prosciutto, Sage and Taleggio are where the Chef’s European heritage really shine. Full flavoured sauces and generous amounts of cheese create a luxe and comforting dining experience, especially when the Confit Duck Leg is brought to the table.
Leaving without at least one serve of the Polenta Chips, served with truffled parsley and parmesan would just be plain wrong. And you won’t be able to walk past the fully stocked dessert cabinet near the front entrance without ordering a sweet, so order a night cap and linger at Fitzrovia, its what Marco and Paul intended.
And if for some such reason, you are not still sold on the Fitzrovia experience, let me end with this: breakfast. Yes, Fitzrovia also serve breakfast. On a nice day it can be eaten outdoors, which is a ten minute walk from St Kilda beach.
At Fitzrovia, decadence begins as soon as the doors open. Breakfast dishes include, Thick Cut Bacon with Gruyere Potato Cake, Crème Brulee French Toast, Crisp Belgian Vanilla and Orange Zest Waffles and, for the health focused, Home smoked Ocean Trout with minted pea salsa verde, with poached eggs on toasted chia seed and kale soda bread, or Home made Cranberry and Almond Bircher Muesli with Prosecco Poached Quince.
Prosecco. Poached. Quince. Now you have to go.
Fitrzovia is open 7 days for breakfast and lunch, and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.