2/155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda 3182
Date visited: 17th November 2013

We had our whole day nicely planned out.  We would have brunch at Fitzrovia and then down to Adriano Zumbo to get some dessert.  

Sounds simple enough?  Not quite.

There were a couple of groups lingering outside around the entrance to Fitzrovia when we approached.  We had never been here before, so we weren't quite sure whether there was someone taking names for tables outside, or you had to go in.  A few waitresses were running in and out, so I approached one and said hi.  She replied with an obligatory hi before rushing off without another word.  @_@

O-kaaaay.  Don't bother asking if you can help or anything.  Like patrons go around saying hi to every single waitress for kicks because they were super friendly.  A bit off-putting already, but I headed into the entrance before I was greeted by I believe the owner, who showed us to a table upstairs.

Set on a split-level venue, the interior of Fitzrovia is no doubt, beautiful.  The place was packed, noisy and buzzing.  I snuck a few pictures after a few people left (yes, if you read on, you will see we were here a WHILE).

We had our coffee orders taken and our food orders taken not long after.  Coffees didn't take too long to arrive.  I had a Cappuccino and MerlinFan had a Latte.  Both coffees were great, creamy with a nutty aftertaste.

We waited. 

And waited.

And waited.

And… yup, you've guess it.  Whoopee!  What fun!  What joy!  We waaaaaaaited.

One hour passed.  We watched the staff ask the people beside us if they wanted more coffees, what else were they waiting for, to which the patrons replied "our food."  @_@  They ordered after us but received their food promptly after that, ate and left.  We watched people walk in, stand around awkwardly before a waitress/waiter noticed and brought them to a table.  We watched patrons get up and get menus from the counter themselves.  We were served our neighbours' orders.  Yes, an hour gives you plentiful time to observe.  

The waiter who took our order came and cleared our empty cups.  I told him we have been waiting an hour, is our food coming.

He went to check and asked who took our orders.  Erm, pretty sure it was you, mate.

Apparently he forgot our order.  He offered us coffees on the house.  Initially we declined, said it was okay.  Then later a waitress came and brought the coffees.  Puzzled, we told her we already got our coffees.

The waiter returned some time after and asked if we got our free coffees.  Turns out he decided to send them anyway - a nice gesture but obviously the waitress who brought them out didn't get the message.  @_@

Anyway, long story short, we got a second round of coffees on the house.

Round two
We waited.  Ho-hum.  

And waited.

Another half hour passed.  MerlinFan got super cranky and was on the verge of leaving.  The idea of Zumbo running out of Zumbarons was too much for her to handle.  MerlinFan also requested that I added, the thought of her wasting her time when she had a whole list of major assignments to do was driving her to the point of insanity.

In the meanwhile everyone around us were served their food, even the dude who just sat down and ordered half an hour ago.  It was ridiculously frustrating, and we were already hungry when we got here - starving half an hour ago.  You would have thought they would at least do a forgotten order first, but obviously not.  I took out my phone to check the time and was about to tell MerlinFan let's go, when our waiter reappeared and apologised, saying our food will be here in a few minutes.  And our breakfast would be on the house.

MerlinFan had the Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Fritters with poached eggs, thyme roast field mushrooms, snow pea shoots, grilled saganaki and truffled salsa verde.  

Sweet potato and caramelised onion fritters 

MerlinFan felt the fritters were on the sweet side and the saganaki would have been nice if it had been grilled - it wasn't warm or melted.  The eggs were nicely poached though.

I had the Creme Brûlée French Toast with banana, whipped mascarpone, toasted pecans and grilled Istra bacon.

Creme brûlée French toast

This was actually one of the better French toasts I've had in a while.  There was a nice crunch as I broke through the top layer of caramelised sugar to the fluffy, soft toast beneath.  Points for novelty value.  The rest of the dish was a perfect marriage of sweet and salty - slices of banana with cool mascarpone, salty, crispy bacon and toasted pecans - really, how can you go wrong with that.  Throw in the creme brûlée twist and it was really an inspired idea.

Overall impression?

The coffee was good and the French toast almost worth coming back for.  Yes, almost.  Service was slow and somewhat chaotic with a problem in communication amongst staff; however our waiter was genuinely sorry and did the best he could to rectify the situation, which did soften the blow to what almost made the worst brunch experience of 2013.   It was just our luck that our order got forgotten, so I'm not going to encourage or discourage anyone from going - do so at your own risk.  

Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

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