Giulia is jumping, and that's how they like it in this renovated 100-year-old butcher shop
Local artsy types, students and briefcase carriers alike have installed themselves in every nook and cranny available in this space that borrows a sense of style from neighbouring Newtown. Customers waiting to order form an obstructive line down the café, which is an irritation during the lunchtime crunch (it's a long, narrow room, the open kitchen sprawling down the line like a bar, with a courtyard out the back).
There's interesting artwork positioned all around the café and the expansive menu is scrawled on a massive blackboard mounted behind the counter. Great coffee and hot drinks are here, such as malted hot chocolate or hot apple and clove cider, fresh juices and, hooray, alcohol too. It's great to see that Café Giulia is part of the growing trend of licensed small businesses and that Melbourne isn't the only town where you can have a civilised beer over lunch without the carnival of corruption.
For brekky, try the Tuscan toast - two pieces of toasted pasta dura (a hard Italian bread) with tomato, olive tapenade and a massive boulder-like chunk of feta, or try it sweet style with ricotta, honey and cinnamon. If you're jumping on the sweets train then the waffles (strangely, served cold) with stewed rhubarb and honey yoghurt will be right up your alley. Lunch is all about bagels, rolls and burgers and redefines the classic sarnie. Take the grilled prawn bagel served with watercress, roast tomato and tahini - it's served open but luckily so, as it alerts you to the fact that the prawn tails are still attached.
It's a Mediterranean taste sensation on a sesame seed bagel. Then there's the lamb casa roll with beetroot and a feta and red capsicum yoghurt sauce. The roll is surprisingly sweet and not as rich as expected. It's still tasty but would probably benefit from a bit more punch.
All in all, the coffee is good, the vibe is undeniably cool and it's a great place to drop in for a neighbourhood tipple.