17 Mar Stop 17, Fitzroy
Newly minted Stop17 takes its name from the nearby stop number 17 of the 86 tram that trundles up Smith Street. It’s been started up by co-owners Ryan and Tyler (also owner-operator of Platform 3 Cafe & Tapas Bar in Carnegie), and Stop17’s chef, Piri, is ex-Huxtable. An all day breakfast and separate lunch and dinner menu features free range and organic produce where possible, and local products includes bread from Noisette, coffee from Phoenix Coffee Group and milk from Saint David Dairy.
The Writers Room upstairs is envisioned to be a space for creatives to gather, collaborate and be inspired, and also serves as a function space for hire. Free wi-fi is available too, handy for research and access to the cloud. Tyler is a screenwriter himself, and knows only too well the lack of space like this. We visit when Stop17 is four days young, and the caricatures of famous writers in the Writers Room are still taking shape. Portraits of Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, JK Rowling and others to come gaze over you, or at you from the tabletops, perhaps sparking some of that inner creativity.
Personalised cocktails are whipped up by the mixologist on weekends. For me, a Whiskey Sour and for mum, a citrus-based cocktail.
We visited for dinner and the first dish we tried were the duck liver pate slider. The buns were slathered with liver pate and graced by thick slices of sweet, toothsome maple bacon. The fragrance was enticingly pungent and almost liquor like. Depth of flavour in all the elements made for many magical bites. A must order.
Pan-seared calamari was tender and peppery, also seasoned with black volcanic salt giving them a black-flecked coating. Little Nipper came next. Crispy, juicy soft shell crab was bursting out of the brioche bun, this being a medium-sized bun, bigger than the the Duck Liver Pate but smaller than a burger. The crab was seasoned by a mix of spices and sriracha mayo and I found this one difficult to share.
I haven’t had pigs tail before, but knew that they contained segments of skin, fat, cartilage and meat all in one. Unfortunately these weren’t crispy but in my head I imagine what they could be: perhaps crispy shells of skin with a more jelly-like cartilage contained within? Not sure, but on this occasion they were a bit too rubbery to be fully appreciated.
We wondered if the deep frier temperature setting was not quite high enough that night, as the chips and tempura fish weren’t quite crunchy and the tempura lacked its light crispiness. The fish was still tender, though slightly underseasoned.
The Crumbed Lamb Ribs were much better. The ribs had been trimmed of excess fat, and the tender meat was well seasoned and crispy. There was a sprinkle of crunchy dukkah and a dish of tzatziki on the side. No gaminess to be found here, and thankfully they weren’t heavy handed with the spices either.
Their Pulled Pork Bun, also available for lunch, had a brought a bit of a Japanese twist rather than sticking to the typical BBQ sauce version, and there was a lovely fragrance of toasted brioche that I could smell every time I lifted it to take a bite. Pickled daikon cut through the sweet pulled pork, and Japanese mayo also helped to balance the pork’s seasoning.
Only a newcomer, Stop17 is already gathering a strong brunch crowd and their dinner dishes show potential. Go visit the Writers Room and see if you too can be inspired.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Stop17 as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time
189 Smith St
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065
(03) 9042 5777