In Ancient Greece, 'Argo' was the ship Jason sailed in search of the mythical Golden Fleece. There's no fleecing going on here (and no-one called Jason), but the service, coffee, location and food are all solid gold.
Argo has stood on this Parade street corner for decades, run by the one family. Young-gun manager Daniel Milky (is there a better name for a barista?), bought the business from his uncle in 2010. Working at a cracking pace (100-hour weeks!), he set the staff standard, building a reputation for super service and perfectionist coffee. Two years later, he's finally had a holiday ‒ but the place continues to run as only a
Driven by the same ethic, Dan's many sisters work the tables and the counter, remembering your name, customising orders and cleaning up toddler graffiti with a smile. There always seems to be enough hands-on-deck here ‒ fortunate, as there are usually more than enough customers (Saturday morning tables are rare: line up next to the herb boxes out the front and wait for a seat).
But if you're in luck, settle in for all-day brunch served with affable efficiency. Don't muck around: flip through the book-like menu to the page marked 'Some Like It Hot' and order 'The Love' burger ‒ a towering, two-hands behemoth sliced down the middle, revealing strata of beef, bacon, egg, melty cheese, caramelised onion and thick discs of tomato.
If you're feeling sub-par, the Argo special is a sure-fire hangover cure ‒ a simple lamb salad which would have fed a village in Jason's time. The wide, shallow bowl is heaped with rocket, rough-hewn fetta, real beetroot, succulent roast capsicum and generous meat, drenched in tzatziki (be warned: they are liberal with condiments here). There's also a super-fresh salad bar for takeaway sandwiches and rolls: try
some Dijon-glazed turkey with bacon, mayo, coriander, parsley, avocado, lettuce and alfalfa, and tell us if you don't feel better.
Coffees pair handsomely with zeppole ‒ twisty, sugary Italian doughnuts (just one option in a burgeoning cake cabinet). Big ticks also for gluten-free choices, local art on the walls, free wi-fi and unobtrusive background jazz.
So, if you're the sailing down the Norwood Parade, your cafe quest stops at Argo.