Mio Locale fills a culinary and coffee gap in an odd no-man’s land section of Brunswick Street.
Fitzroy’s abundant supply of cafe and shopping scene peters out abruptly at Alexandra Parade and don’t really resume again until you hit North Fitzroy village. The new Bellini apartments have now been completed on the corner of Alexandra Parade and Brunswick Street and part of the development is Mio Locale.
The concrete shell, decorated with black glossy tiles and brass trims, is small but welcoming. They manage to make almost all their food in house, other than the bread which comes from Dench Bakers in North Fitzroy.
The owners are a sister-brother team of Italian heritage and they pride themselves on sourcing local produce, using fresh, seasonal ingredients for their breakfast and lunch menu.
This translates to a small menu of accessible cafe dishes with an Italian twist, generously portioned, and brought to your table with a smile. I was invited to try the cafe with my family.
To start we had a pear and cinnamon smoothie and a yoghurt-based berry smoothie. Both sweet and filling and enough of a meal on their own.
For something simple, done well, go for the Fancy Pants Toastie ($13). It’s an melting ham and cheese toasted sandwich, crowed with a fried egg and with the crusts neatly lopped off. A dab of housemade relish rests on the side. Personally I prefer crusty sandwiches so I’m sure you can just ask for them to keep the crusts on!
I decided to choose the heartier dish of chickpeas with Calabrian salami, sugo, spinach and garum ($16). It was full of punchy, vibrant flavours and exactly the kind of dish best finish with a mopping of bread. It kept me going for most of the day, though if you’re looking for extra protein you can choose to add a poached egg.
The pastries, cakes and biscuits are all house made and I just fell in love with the huge yo-yos filled with mocha cream, a steal at $2.50.
While the cafe doesn’t seem especially family-friendly from the outside, there is sufficient pram space inside and outdoor seating for tram-watching toddlers. They have high chairs too and actively encourage families to visit. Sometimes family-friendly means just having a great attitude towards the antics of children!
Mio Locale is just a stone’s throw from picnic hotspot and fantastic playground in Edinburgh Gardens, so it’s fitting that they provide picnic packs for those who don’t fancy catering their own spread.
I wish Mio Locale was my local! But lucky northside families can enjoy it seven days a week.