A slice of Paris at Napier Quar­ter.

A lit­tle slice of France has crept into the back streets of Fitzroy, and the lo­cals couldn’t be hap­pier with this new eatery, espresso and wine bar

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

NAPIER QUAR­TER: RE­VIEWED BY DAN STOCK

WITH Fitzroy’s march through gen­tri­fi­ca­tion into den­si­fi­ca­tion chip­ping away at the soul of our old­est sub­urb, the pubs and places that have the neigh­bour­hood at heart need to beat ever stronger. Thank good­ness, then, for Napier Quar­ter.

It’s a sweet space that’s bring­ing a touch of Paris to Fitzroy’s back streets – an espresso in the morn­ing, wine in the evening, kind of bar. Since open­ing at the end of last year, it’s al­ready found a firm fol­low­ing of old-school Fitzroy­alty who have em­braced the new neigh­bour bear­ing crois­sants in the morn­ing and char­cu­terie at night.

Street-side seat­ing that catches the late autumn sun is per­fect for the wil­fully icon­o­clas­tic who still smoke like Parisians, while in­side the mir­rors, chalk­board specials, stained wood, white tiles and pen­dant light­ing keep things themed, but not twee.

There’s lots of in­ter­est with ev­er­chang­ing wines on the menu, with lo­cal drops such as Mac Forbes RS10 ries­ling sit­ting next to ju­di­ciously cho­sen Ital­ian and French bot­tles. And while a plate of house pickles or saltroasted nuts would prove a per­fectly apt ac­com­pa­ni­ment, it would be re­miss to skip the big­ger plates, for this is where Eileen Horsnell’s kitchen re­ally shines.

A stun­ning tomato salad is a rain­bow of her­itage fruit dressed with good oil, a sprin­kling of ca­pers, olive cheeks and pur­ple basil, show­ing off Horsnell’s less is (so much) more ap­proach.

A thick piece of crusty light rye is toasted, topped with a fanned boiled egg and gen­er­ously draped with meaty Cuca an­chovies – my kind of snack.

An exquisitely cooked and sea­soned pork rib-eye is lean with just enough creamy fat and served with nashi ba­tons and pick­led fen­nel dice.

With neigh­bours like these, who’d ever leave? I know I wouldn’t.

359 Napier St, Fitzroy napierquar­ter. com. au From top: tomato salad, street-side seat­ing, and the pork with nashi and fen­nel.

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