It's sometimes when just randomly walking around that you can find nice little surprises. With Bureaucrat and Snooze both busy I thought I'd go for a walk one work lunch time and so came across Café Romulus, a cute little café in a semi-industrial strip along Spencer Street. It's really not somewhere you'd expect to find this quirky little place, which would fit in well in say Brunswick or North Fitzroy, but given the constant flow of people through the door I can't claim to have been the first to discover it.
One of the things I like most about it is the number of interesting decorating themes it has going. The almost prehistoric metal work and till at the front, the album covers and movie posters, the Mexican (Central American?) skeletons, even a distinct cat theme. Other than a bit of an American leaning there doesn't seem to be any overlaying principle to it all, except I suspect they are some of the favourite things of the people who own the café, but I thought it was all quite fun.
The breakfast menu is only available until 11 so my choices were limited to the lunchtime specials, of which there are only two per day. While this means there isn't much choice at least the options are quite interesting, including a vegie burger with potato salad. Not normally something I would order it came on white bread rather than the hamburger patty I was expecting. It also came with much bigger flavours than I'd anticipated, even more so than a lot of meat based burgers I've tried. Nice aioli dressing for the potato salad as well, which was made with much chunkier potato than the generic backyard bbq varieties.
Having enjoyed kicking back listening to Aretha Franklin playing in the background I was looking to prolong the experience with something sweet. Unfortunately cake wise the options were a little disappointing, limited to a muffin which was proceeding to fall about and a slightly dry giant pink melting moment.
Overall a very enjoyable experience with one annoying negative. Talking to staff they all came across as helpful and friendly, with the exception of the actual moment of service. I thought it might have been just me but I noticed it was the same at other tables, when under pressure the staff did just slap the plates down on the table, hard enough that half my burger fell over and had to be rebuilt for the photo. It's only a little thing, but it does affect how welcoming the café feels.
Food - 7.5
Ambience - 8
Service - 6.5
Price - 7
437 Spencer Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
Tel :(03) 9329 3084