Occupying the waning Grocery Bar site, the renovated new café is helping the likes of Golden Fields, Di Stasio and Milk the Cow make Backpacker Run a good-looking place to snack.
You’ve got to give it to owner Andrea Brooks – the lady’s got style.
The interior features slick black painted walls, low hanging pendant lights and digitally printed Victorian-era wallpaper. We love the yellow neon GB Espresso sign and quirky yellow coat hooks perfect for all jackets great and small. We secretly wish we could take our robust cup of Five Senses coffee and drink it in the toilet – it’s wall-to-wall pressed silver metal glittering from a chandelier. Competition heats up on the weekend for the long dark banquettes and communal table, but then again, breakfast runs until 5pm, so your essential weekend sleep-in won’t be cramped if you’d rather rock up past noon.
The GB crew are a friendly bunch who are flying the seasonal flag. The menu is simple Italian/Mediterranean/Melbourne delicious.
Bring your appetite and introduce it to a dish of potato, parsnip and chive cakes topped with gooey raclette and poached eggs. Crisp rashers of roasted bacon add smoky notes to the carby potato cakes.
Don’t miss the quinoa porridge. Its creamy texture is nicely contrasted by slivers of vanilla poached pears and a decent drizzle of honey. Panini rammed with San Daniele prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella are the lunch staple, popular with weekday folk after smash-and-grab lunch, and best followed by freshly baked jam crostatas (jammy tarts!) or crumbly melting moments.
Fancy a vino with your spinach and feta tart? Try a bone-dry white soave from the pint-sized all-Italian wine list.
GB Espresso delivers big smiles and unfussy food at the right price. Shine on, Fitzroy Street.