Hyperlocal news about Melbourne's first suburb: Fitzroy 3065

breakfast at Backstreet Eating


I’ve been remiss in not reviewing Backstreet Eating on the corner of Napier and Kerr streets. I’ve had several very pleasurable breakfasts there and they deserve some recognition. Last weekend I shared the full English breakfast for two ($28.50) with my girlfriend and we both impressed. It features delicious baked beans, toast, fried eggs, black pudding, sausages, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes (all hidden under the eggs in the photo below).

If you walk past on a weekday you’ll find Ici opposite full, but Backstreet Eating isn’t. Its modern dark fitout is perhaps more subliminally indicative of evenings and dinners than breakfast, though Ici is equally dark inside in the daytime. On a weekend, good luck trying to get into Breakfast Thieves a block away on the corner of Gore and Rose streets, because you usually can’t, but you can always get a table at Backstreet Eating.

It’s a puzzle. Backstreet Eating and Breakfast Thieves are both modern slick looking cafes with excellent food in the ground floors of new apartment buildings, but one is so hot right now and the other apparently isn’t. It’s got nothing to do with the food because I don’t think there’s much between them in terms of the quality of the food or the coffee. They are worthy of your custom.

I gather Backstreet Eating does better at nights because it does dinner and has far less competition then. I’ve not eaten there at night yet but it’s on my list…



  1. The food is pretty good there, I agree, but the reason I rarely bother with Backstreet Eating is the building it is in. There are plenty of cafes in Fitzroy that have the advantage of an atmospheric heritage or industrial building which just makes the experience so much more aesthetically pleasing. And what else is there to recommend a cafe experience but aesthetics? I would include food as an aesthetic experience, of course, but on its own, it just isn’t enough. Having said that, Backstreet Eating has positively contributed to the ‘Artist’ building in an architectural sense, but it is starting from a low base, in my view. There is an interesting article from the architect here about some of these issues – some of my comments and his replies can be found in the comments section:

    • I understand this point of view, but Breakfast Thieves also lacks atmospheric heritage and it’s aways full. There are other factors influencing this consumer behaviour.

  2. Like you, I’ve never been to BE for breakfast, although I’ve often enjoyed dinner there. Maybe it’s the way the menu is presented, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to have the same appeal of its competitors. (But in any case I’d always put Industry Beans at the top of my Fitzroy breakfast list)

  3. I have eaten at Backstreet Eating a few times since they opened. I went back there on Saturday 21/12/2013 for lunch with friends and it was a very disappointing experience.

    It was not busy.

    The waitress seemed to have no idea what specials were still available. We all ordered 1 of the specials but at least 10-15 mins went by before she returned and told us it was unavailable.

    I asked if I could have 2 poached eggs on sourdough (the menu is a bit obscure so I wanted to make sure this was an option) and she said yes. So I ordered that along with sides of tomato, bacon, avocado, mushrooms and bacon.

    After a fairly lengthy wait, my order arrived. On 1 small plate there was a piece of sourdough with 1 egg sitting on the plate, not on the toast, and a small bowl with the mushrooms in it.

    On another small plate was a small piece of avocado, 2 very fatty pieces of thick bacon and a very small piece of tomato.

    When I said that I had ordered 2 eggs and 2 pieces of sourdough with the eggs on the sourdough and that I expected that it would have all been on 1 plate instead of a 2 very small plates she argued with me and said that is what I had ordered and that was the biggest plate they had!!!. My lunch companions verified my order but she continued to argue with me. The ?owner then got involved and I explained my order to him.

    His response was lacklustre to say the least and both he and the waitress were really quite dismissive and very reluctant to rectify their errors.

    Finally the waitress found a normal sized dinner plate and I was left to transfer my food from the other plates to the dinner plate.

    Then the ?owner arrived with a small plate with 1 piece of sourdough on it and a poached egg on top.

    By this time I had eaten some of my meal and just decided to take the proffered 2nd egg and put it on the piece of sourdough provided in the first instance.

    He was not impressed that I did not want the second piece of sourdough.

    There was no apology from either the waitress or the ?owner for this fiasco.

    The bill was even more of a surprise.

    2 x eggs = $5.00
    2 x fatty pieces of bacon = $5.00
    4 very small slices of avocado = $4.00
    1 x very small piece of Tomato = 4.00
    1 x small bowl of Mushrooms = $4.00
    1 x slice of sourdough = $2.00
    Total = $24.00!!!!

    Total ripoff and a never to return customer!!!

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