222 Brunswick Street Fitzroy
(Visited April ’17)
I’m ashamed to say, that the thought of heading over to Fitzroy from the Port Phillip Bay-side of town, on that Thursday night, Good Friday Eve… well it felt like more of an effort and a drainer, than the desire to see my high school friends was.
I mean, the group of us only get together every few years or so. All 6 of us. And so that should have been incentive enough, right?
Yeah, but now high school is over: I’m a Mum, I’m a wife, and I’m an inventive cook too, who was just freaking out over how the hell I was gonna bake all the Easter goodies I was planning on before Easter on Sunday.
But I soon whooped my ass into gear, and as soon as I was all dolled up, I felt much more, Fitzroy ready.
I knew Fitzroy well. I had worked in the area and walked its streets often, many, many years ago. In doing so, I thought I knew what kind of place I could expect. Small, cramped, dark. Meals at the bar, sitting up on some tall stools, looking down the line at each other and barely able to hear ourselves over the band music. I knew we were having dinner there, and one of the girls was pregnant, so I figured it must be somewhat ‘family’ friendly…
I just didn’t know how that would be.
Well, when I luckily pulled right up to the front and parked (my first surprise of the night) I then walked in through the open doors, and got my second surprise.
This place, was HUGE.
It was high, open-spaced, and light. Yes there was a bar, on the left upon entry, and it was long and wide. But also, occupying more than 3/4s of the space, was the seating area. Tables were throughout, along with those that backed onto booths against the wall, and dotted in amongst all of this were purple couches, all high backed and posh and definitely standing out, used as seating as well.
The toilets were out the back, near where our group was eventually seated, and these were spacious and funky looking too.
As I positioned myself in the booth next to my friend, I looked at these seated works of art, and thought ‘damn. I want to sit in one of those.’
They looked out of place, and yet in true eclectic Fitzroy style, they totally fit in.
And then there was the greenery.
Greenery, you say? In a Fitzroy bar? Where the hell could they fit such greenery?
Why, on the ceiling of course.
It was an interesting and welcoming sight, a nice contrast to the hustle and bustle of all the diners hanging out and catching up on the floor. I loved it.
Once all the girls (and one beau) had arrived, and we were only visited three times by the waitress who was coming to take our order but we were still not ready, we finally ordered.
I got a glass of the Cape Schanck Pinot Noir (from the Mornington Peninsula, of course)
And soon after as the meals arrived, so too did my meal:
Now alas, all I can go on is memory, because the guys at Fitzroy Social are so efficient they have already changed their menu, a month on from my visit there! And of course the chicken I had is no longer on it. But I can remember there was a kind of mustard glaze-sauce on the chicken, atop creamy mash, and the carrots were honeyed.
I do recall I enjoyed my dish, however it needed a side, vegies or chips or something. The mash was a small serving. No fault of the menu, it did clearly state what I received, I just should have paid attention more. I enjoyed the mustard flavour against the sweet carrots, and hey… it just meant I had more room for dessert.
After eating, taking the traditional group photo followed by stupid-face photo, a few of the girls headed off, leaving the ones that were left deciding to go for the Dessert Box
(Apologies for the disgustingly dark photo, the dim lights in that part of the room made it awfully hard)
3 of us went for this, which consisted of full portions of their regular desserts: peanut butter cheesecake, caramel and Nutella pie, salted caramel and popcorn panna cotta, and a scoop each of raspberry and coconut sorbet.
My faves were the cheesecake, panna cotta and raspberry sorbet, but they were all good in their own right. Going the shared dessert box with friends is quite possibly the best idea, you get a taste of everything. Gluttony at its finest.
After this it was my cue to exit, and I left the last two girls behind, with the bright lights and slowly increasing volume and rowdy natures that were on the increase, behind. Back to the beach, driver.
Food: 7/10. A varied menu for all – burgers, meat, fries, salads and much more.
Ambience: Bustling and happening, yet still chilled and casual. Sit at the bar… sit at a booth. Sit at a purple couch. Do whatever. But we’re in Fitzroy, outer-city suburbs, so you would only expect just that. It started off at a stable volume when I was there, and the music and chatter only increased throughout the night. It wasn’t too loud that you couldn’t hear your friends talking across from you at the table, so that I appreciated.
Staff: The waitress tending to us was very smiley and polite, and offered suggestions when needed. She was Fitzroy-savvy.
People: A real mix. There were groups of friends, and I expected it to be a much younger crowd, but I did see a couple of kids here and there with their parents! It is definitely a younger crowd, 20-30s, but it was nice to see that littlies were welcome too.
Price: I paid about $35ish for my portion of the bill. I can’t say for sure about the chicken, but the estimate was in the high teens to low 20s, and I do recall thinking it was reasonable for that area – I had the chicken, glass of red, and shared in the dessert box.
Advice: If you’re arriving 7-7:30pm you may just get lucky like I did and score parking like RIGHT OUT THE FRONT. Arrive later, and your risk. There are 2 hour parks around the area, and despite what passers-by tell you – pay for a ticket! The bloody signs are so contradictory, they almost want you to think you don’t have to pay, when indeed, you do. I have seen people getting fines for parking without a ticket, and not getting a new one when their last one expired – trust me. Or if you don’t mind walking, go to a flat-rate car park and walk a couple of blocks…
If you’re into funky, retro things, book a booth. It’ll become your facebook profile pic, I have no doubt.
Finally, go the dessert box. You’re going with someone right? Friends? A Man? Your Mum? Unless you go there alone maybe don’t order it… what the hell, you only live once right? Eat ALL the desserts!
In a nutshell: A real surprise of a bar I must say. Expansive, airy, and contrasting textures and sights, made for a great evening with friends. The menu is varied and caters to most palates, and the room is divided into play and eat, so that you can dine with friends and hear every word they say, or have the club vibe happening and seat (and eat) up at the bar. A cool blend of both, and I think all kinds of Social interactions will work well here, way into the future…