HOT: Ici, 359 Napier St, Fitzroy

Not being much of a drinker, when I say my ‘local’ I’m generally referring to the nearest café to my house rather than the nearest pub.

While Ici is not strictly my local, it is the sort of café which I wish was my local. The quiet and unassuming bluestone building is tucked away in the leafy streets of Fitzroy, away from the hurly-burly of Smith Street and Brunswick Street, and its clientele seem to be neighbours and nearby residents.

The café has a cosy wood interior, reminiscent of a dusty French bistro, and a blackboard menu written with a good selection of sweet and savoury breakfast dishes.

I debated whether to go savoury (scrambled tofu) or sweet (French toast) but decided on the scrambled tofu with tamari rice balls, spinach, shiitake mushrooms on two slices of sourdough garnished with beetroot relish, chopped spring onions and coriander ($16.50). I like the textural differences between the slightly crunchy rice and the fluffy tofu and the dish tasted fresh and healthy, albeit a bit salty. Overall I enjoyed the dish and would return for it.

R and A shared a croissant accompanied by three pots of jam and passionfruit butter and a bowl of rather lumpen porridge with banana, pistachio , natural yoghurt and palm sugar ($9.50).  They said that it was one of the better tasting porridges they’d had but they preferred their porridge runnier.

The service was a little bit space cadet but not so terrible to be remarkable – probably just a bit sleepy from partying the night before.

I liked the low-key vibe of Ici (unlike the head-spinning Min Lokal) and next time I think I’ll try the French toast…

For more reviews, check out Addictive & Consuming and older posts from Where’s the Beef? and The Age’s Epicure.

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12 thoughts on “HOT: Ici, 359 Napier St, Fitzroy

  1. I went to Ici on my recent trip home and loved it. What a great breakfast spot – the only problem is that it is a bit too popular, there were quite long queues on a weekend.
    .-= Gourmet Chick´s last blog ..Chilli Chutney =-.

    • Hi Gourmet Chick

      Ah, we must have been lucky because we waltzed straight to a table at 10am on a Saturday. I personally can’t abide queueing for the first meal of my day, so it’s fortunate my first experience at Ici was so smooth!

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Hi Vee

      I agree! What is it with Fitzroy and breakfast??? Fortunately it seems more and more locations are popping up, so the breakfast crowds are able to spread themselves out all over the suburb :–)

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Hi Ms Critique

      Maybe I was a bit harsh – the service wasn’t terrible, just a bit unfocused. It could be interpreted as being chilled out and relaxed and it’s just me getting impatient because I haven’t had any breakfast!

      Jetsetting Joyce

  2. French toast is a little different. Its covered in berries, marscapone, and a few other things. Great stuff. Love the place.
    Scrambled tofu and porridge are also favourites.

    • Hi Pieter

      Thanks for the tip – I’m definitely returning for the French toast next time I’m up for something sweet for my breakfast. It did look lover-ly.

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Hi Gem

      Aw, I actually think the teesy-ness is what give it its charm. But I guess it’s another story if you’re standing outside in the cold waiting for a table! It is quiet and restful though and I love how it just fits in with its surroundings of terrace houses.

      Jetsetting Joyce

  3. Oh wow, scrambled tofu for breakfast…? That’s an interesting twist, and it looks awfully delicious! Will have to pop by one of these days..:]

  4. In agreement to Pieter – the French Toast covered in berries and marscapone was different but delicious. Generally when we think of marscapone you think of it being used in a delicious dessert but this breakfast recipe put a new twist on something sweet for breakfast.

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