Saturday, September 20, 2008


359 Napier St Fitzroy, VIC 3065 (03) 9417 2274

What do you get when you cross decent food with possibly the slowest and least attentive service I've seen to date in Melbourne? ICI, that's what.
I've lived in Fitzroy for the last 6 years - just around the corner from ICI and somehow I've successfully managed to avoid visiting this place for that whole time. From outside there's nothing inviting about it- a few seats outside and a very small cafe inside, with again very few seats.
There are always people at ICI though, which is apparently a popular haunt for the locals.
Unfortunately for us, my mate wanted to give ICI a go last weekend and offered to pay for my breakfast, so who was I to complain?
No free tables inside or outside. So, we were forced to be those annoying people that stand around watching other people eat, waiting for them to leave. 10 minutes later we got a seat outside. Another 10 minutes later, the waitress decided she was going to finally clean our table of the last people's mess.
Another 10 minutes later a waiter appeared to take our drink orders and advised us, we'd need to go inside to look at the blackboard for the menu. How hard is it to print up some paper menus for people sitting outside? Damn Fitzroy hippies, not wanting to waste paper!
15 minutes after we ordered, one of my friend's Scrambled eggs and toast arrived - this was obviously first, because it was easiest and didn't have any sides like the rest of us.
It wasn't for another 10 minutes at least before the rest of our breakfasts arrived. This is poor form for any cafe or restaurant. Everyone should be served together in my book.
Presentation obviously isn't a factor at ICI, everything is banged on the plate with minimal care and it seems to barely fit on the plate.

Apart from all that - the food is actually half decent. The eggs were nicely poached, the tomato chilli jam had a nice kick and the bacon tasted like bacon.
If you're sitting outside, also watch for the seeds from the trees above blowing into your food. It happened to us, not very cool, but I guess there's not much the cafe can do about it. There's plenty they can do about their service though. Attempting to order more drinks when we finished our food proved hopeless.
If you want to lounge around in the back streets of Fitzroy and act like a local - there are better places to do it than ICI, I'd suggest Minlokal, just around the corner.


Cindy said...

Sounds quite similar to my memory of Ici (I haven't been there for ages). A few locals recommended it as their absolute favourite, and the food was pretty good, but the service was glacial. Min Lokal's definitely a worthy alternative, though it seems to be gaining in popularity too!

fitzroyalty said...

I'd have to agree. Ici make a great coffee and when I manage to get inside the service is ok, but Min Lokal is better all round. The secret to getting in there is picking the moment between the early breakfast shift (bobo families and yummy mummies) and the later shift (party kids) - or go straight to the back room!