12 Jun Sir Charles, Fitzroy
Beans and Bagels is no more. Sir Charles is the latest venture from the owners of Axil Coffee Roaster, Dave Makin and Zoe Delaney. Zoe previously worked for the owners of Beans and Bagels, teaming up with a number of partners to form this new restaurant. They renovated the interior of the former bagelry and spruced it up with a polished, bright, modern and spacious interior. White walls, pale wood, and copper accents create the theme, with splashes of aqua and turqoise creating a sort of feature wall, out of which the kitchen window peeks. Coffee is a focus here, with their own blend of coffee beans roasted in their Probat roaster on-site.
The restaurant is named after Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy, whom the suburb itself was named after. I would watch progress on the site while travelling to and from uni every day, and I finally came in to try the finished product, which was opened in February this year. Reading through the menu, it’s clear that Chef Tyler Preston (ex-Chin Chin, Seven Seeds, Dr Morse, Veggie Bar) has taken much inspiration from Asian cuisine. A pan-Asian approach seems to be the case here, with sriracha, kimchi, KFC (the Korean type), tempura, wasabi and mee goreng all gracing the menu. There are non-Asian dishes too, such as the five-grain porridge and hotcakes for breakfast, or lamb ribs for lunch.
I didn’t try much of S’s corn fritters ($16), but they were smooth and creamy and the charred salsa together with the spicy hollandaise gave the dish a bit of a lift.
I went with one of Sir Charles’ most popular dishes – the Sir Charles Benedict ($18). I have to say, even though it’s so prevalent all over Melbourne due to its popularity, hollandaise has never really appealed to me. I did, however, think that the addition of sriracha to the hollandaise was intriguing, so I decided to give it a go. I was only expecting a slice of bacon or two, but this came with at least three, making it quite a hearty meal that sustained me for most of the day. The bacon was quite lean, but tasty and not overly salty. Just how I like it. I haven’t had roti for breakfast since my last trip to Malaysia six years ago, so this was a long-awaited guilty pleasure. The roti was perhaps flatter and not as flakey as good roti from overseas, but it was crispy. The thin layer of panko enveloping the poached eggs was also delightfully crisp, tying the contrasting textures of the egg and the roti together quite nicely. The sriracha hollandaise was definitely worth trying. Every mouthful of this dish was a delight.
I often approach Asian-inspired menus with much apprehension. They often contain dubious and predictable combinations where it seems to be assumed that a splash of sriracha or a dollop of kimchi will create an instant hit. Here, however, there are menu items that genuinely sound scrumptuous and intelligent. I can’t wait to come back for more!
121 Johnston Street
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065
(03) 9415 7077