Neapoli is an all day eatery in Collins Street Melbourne that is many things to many people.
By day, a cosy cafe and meeting place for nearby office workers (who particularly like the big boardroom table upstairs). By night, a sexy wine bar with interesting food to share.
I visited on shadowy winter’s morning and the ambience was just right for the weather – dimly lit and with hidden corners for a quiet tete-a-tete. I loved Neapoli’s curving oak bar with leather stools but decided I wanted to sit somewhere less conspicuous and headed upstairs.
Both levels benefited from the light glinting off the glorious black-framed curved wall of glass which fronted onto the terrace.
For easy navigation the breakfast menu was divided into fruits and grains, toast and bagels and eggs, plus a range of sides. I decided to start with and egg and bacon bagel with tomato relish ($12.50) mainly because the menu boasted that the bagels were steamed and baked in house.
The dish was possibly the most beautiful version of an egg and bacon butty I’ve seen. One barely fried egg, a generous slice of bacon, a festive frill of baby spinach leaves and a slick of sauce opened up between two crusty slices. The texture of the bagel itself was quite interesting – not quite the chewy, Eastern European variety I’m used to but more of a bready, almost brioche-like cakiness to it. Even if it wasn’t an authentic bagel it was delicious.
Based on the successful bread venture I decided to try the banana pancakes too ($15). These were gorgeous fluffy discs with a crisp border presumably created by an egg ring. The three pancakes were topped with a classic combination of banana and maple syrup. Unbeatable.
A glance at the vast lunch and dinner menu invites to return – it’s a list of old-school Italian favourites and unexpected segues into Greek, Thai and Mexican cuisine. I love the idea of all day dining too, as often I find myself eating lunch at 11am and dinner at 5pm these days.
Neapoli epitomises the best of alleyway dining in Melbourne – a culinary destination that’s relaxed yet sophisticated, the perfect place to read the papers solo or enjoy long boozy chats with friends.