Weeks continue to merge at a rapid rate. It appears we're still on Brunswick Street though it's another weekend, but which one already? Today is more than grey. Windy, shiveringly cold, frozen ears, heavy drizzle and fog on breath. Weather that Melbourne used to be known for, though we haven't seen it for quite awhile. But isn't this just what we Melbournians live for, and hadn't we all missed it? Glorious...(?)
We're at Joe's Garage for lunch, a large cafe bistro marked by red and blue neon signage and very Fitzroy. The large wood dominated dining space is decorated by quirky art and Gen Y band posters. We especially like the Mamboesque works featuring the cafe's namesake. First priority was coffees which were quite passable, and reasonable ($2.90), Grinders 'European Blend'. An extra 50 cents will get you an extra tall glass's worth, enough caffeine to ensure insomnia for the next few nights. We don't often order pizza unless it was the specific purpose of the eat-out but decided to try the Joe's Special with hot salami, roasted peppers, olives, artichokes, chilli and mozzarella ($12.90). We shouldn't have strayed from our regular no-pizza habit really. The toppings were okay but Joe's pizza base was pretty terrible. Droopy and lacking of fresh oven-heat like it had been left at the pass for too long before being brought to our table. Perhaps our pizza was the reason for the series of angry "Tings!" coming from the kitchen's pass bell about 10 minutes before? The Soup of the Day of Smoked Chorizo and Capsicum ($7.90) was much better, a hearty blend of smoky and garlicky chilli flavours served with a couple of slices of toasted sourdough. Very filling.
Joe's Special in fact turned out to be rather ordinary, let down by its base
The place was buzzing with a Saturday lunchtime crowd escaping from the weather but the 'Garage's' young waitstaff were just as buzzy and up to the task, rushing quite efficiently around their tables with cheery smiles on faces. Perhaps they were happily anticipating the morning's wages spent on drinking along with one of those bands posted on the walls? We don't blame the pizza on them.
Food: 3 Spots - Go more for the crowds, buzz, and perhaps breakfast.
Service: 3.5 Spots - Designer jeans, cargos, Tee's, bandanas.
Value: 3 Spots - Typical bistro, better can be found elsewhere.
R-Factor: 3.5 Spots - For breakfast? For dinner?
Spot Score: 13/20
366 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC.