To ease myself back into my first day back on the treadmill after a few weeks quaffing the European summer, I took 30 minutes before work this morning to have breakfast at my favourite local hole in the wall.
A lot of us detest breakfast meetings, but breakfast itself? Love it!
A non-descript shop front window on Little Collins Street (just near our William Street offices in Melbourne) hides the best breakfast joint in town. It’s called Cafe Intimo and Frank and Jason, the two guys who run it, make you feel right at home. They’ll call out ‘hey’ from behind the counter as you step in the door, pass on a few footy tit-bits, and tempt you with a seasonal special. They’ll name drop just enough to ensure you know you’re in good company, but they leave politics for the cab drivers and global tragedies for the water cooler.
There’s a calming rhythm to their world @work. Two partners who know their customers, who detect a disposition at three metres and remember likes and dislikes. They understand the rushed and the reflective, crank up the espresso machine at dawn and are home by nightfall.
And if you know me, you’ll know I have a deep failing when it comes to food. I love bacon, eggs and tomatoes. Piled high and flavoursome. Not as thick with oil and butter as Jimmy Watson’s, but don’t give me dry toast. Intimo’s breakfast is perfect, but it’s never been featured on any TV show, Jason’s no celebrity chef and Hecker Guthrie haven’t done the interior.
It’s true to its owners and its band of wide-eyed and weary customers. It dishes up very agreeable food for breakfast, lunch and anytime in-between. Innovation means seasonal variations and when last year they knocked through the wall and increased the seating, it lost none of its personal service.
Now that’s a business model we could all copy. I thought I’d check on TripAdvisor to see if anyone else loves this place – they do. And the only one who didn’t like it just made me love it even more: “Never go to this place – Worst place in Melbourne CBD.”
New Yorkers have their diners, I have Cafe Intimo.
Where’s your favourite work-a-day breakfast spot?