North Melbourne seems to be raising a pretty high bar for breakfast and brunch. In the last couple of weeks I've been quite impressed by the set up for Grigons & Orr (almost too cute to live) and Auction Rooms (impressive use of an existing space). Based on our visit though, the food at Fandango is in a different class.
Working in the city we decided to dance on down to Fandango for a Wednesday lunch. I'd been past here before and it looked comparatively small, so the moment noon came we were off for the tram to make sure we could get a table.
On entering the set up is a little disconcerting. There are only a few small tables at the front, but a long narrow corridor through the kitchen leads to an open courtyard with another four or five tables. Provided the sun is out this is the place to sit, all red bricks, flowers and chairs that remind me of my primary school days. Comment was made that it didn't feel like we were sitting next to a North Melbourne back alleyway, more a café in Healesville or somewhere else out in the country (although the dulcet tones of the wheelie bin being dragged across the cobblestones behind the gate couldn't really compete with calling magpies or laughing kookaburras).
I was told to specially mention the cute tea cosy (insert with woollen liquorice allsorts) and loose leaf tea. But for me it was all about the food.
Snooze went for the poached eggs with beetroot, spinach and feta relish on toasted sour dough. The eggs were nicely poached, little white balls still runny on the inside. I often find that too much spinach is used in these sorts of dishes and it overpowers the flavour of the eggs, but the beetroot, spinach and feta were all properly balanced to nicely complement the dish.
Suzie Q went for the tuna sandwich (tuna, Spanish onion, dill, spinach, cheese, tomato and homemade mayonnaise). A really simple dish similar to that offered in lunch bars all over town, but a great example of how much food can be improved by a bit of care and high quality basic ingredients. I particularly liked the way the strong meaty flavour of the tuna came through. We also were trying to work out where they source their bread, as it was very good and nicely toasted, browned and crunchy on the outside but not at all dried out by the toasting.
My choice was the French toast, with bacon, baked apple, maple butter and maple syrup. While it could have been a bit more generous with the bacon I loved the French toast, which was a beautiful golden colour and nicely 'eggy'.
We also watched out of the corner of our eyes the dishes which came out to fellow dinners and all looked equally as good as our choices. I am particularly tempted by a return visit to try the fabulous looking pancakes.
Susie Q still had space left for more so ordered some carrot cake to go with her latte. The cake was slightly dry but nicely flavoured. While neither Snooze or myself are real coffee drinkers, we were informed that the coffee was very good.
Friendly service, a nice place to sit in the sun and devour excellent food with good coffee. Not perfect, but up amongst the best cafes I have tried in Melbourne and I'd happily recommend it to others.
Food - 8.5
Service - 7.5
Ambience - 7.5 (out the back)
Price - 6.5
97 Errol Street
North Melbourne, VIC, 3051
Tel: (03) 9329 0693