• Mario's Cafe

M is back.  My fellow foodie and friend has managed to take a short stint from intensive studies in California, to visit Melbourne and spend a day rediscovering her favourite haunts.  When I asked her: “Where do you want to go for brunch?” , her answer was: “Mario's”.  Feeling slightly sheepish, having never tasted or even heard about this apparent Melbourne institution, I looked it up and we were on our way.

Mario’s Cafe feels like its name suggests.  Comfortable.  Italian.  Homely.  Friendly without pretence.  I ordered the most interesting breakfast on the menu: poached eggs with smashed peas, chilli, mint, feta and toast.  M ordered eggs with her usual hash browns -  some things never change.

The eggs were traditionally poached, straight into vinegared hot water so that the whites were firm but the yolks done just in time for a gooey centre.  The toast was a standout, well toasted with lots of wholesome grains.  The peas were prettily smashed and smothered with fresh chilli on top.  The fresh mint was not over-powering, more as a hint of herb enhancement.   The feta brought out an appropriate saltiness.  I would not have considered peas and eggs for breakfast but it worked well.

I would like to return for a pasta lunch or dinner.  After all, the real test of authentic Italian is not poached eggs.  M confirmed the pasta as quality.  Perhaps we will have a chance to return before she jets back to the sunny coast.  What do you think M?  Or what else have you been missing?

Mario's Cafe
303 Brunswick Street
 Fitzroy 3065
03 9417 3343

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