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
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.