Mixed Business

December 14, 2011

486 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
I visited Mixed Business with my good friend A.M., who was thrilled to hear I’d finally started using a proper camera and offered to give me some tips. Cameras over shoulders, we walked along Queens Parade and into the large and open space that is Mixed Business. The tables are nicely spread out, and there’s a relaxing empty spot in the middle of the cafe so it doesn’t feel hectic, even when busy.We sat for quite some time, just admiring all the little trinkets and tea cosys and signs around the place. To our amusement, there was a wall plant that had grown in the shape of a moose’s antlers, like some mounted hunting prize!

I unsheathed my camera (too dramatic a verb for photography, perhaps?) and thus the lesson began. We ordered a pair of coffees to begin with, and A gave me the run down on various functions and manual settings, all very useful. I still can’t take pictures anywhere nearly as well as she can though, so the photos from this post are courtesy of A (more can be seen here).

This is actually from our second round of coffees: a double ristretto flat white and a cappuccino. The coffee here is excellent, smooth and nutty and served at the perfect temperature. The double ristretto flat white comes recommended.

I took these next two photographs – “A Lesson In Focus” I call it. First, we’re focusing on the lens from my camera (I was using A’s infinitely more brilliant lens at the time), sunglasses blurry in the background.

Now, the same scene, but what has changed? “Oh! How marvellous, you’ve shifted the focus to the sunglasses and now the lens is blurred! What a brilliant person you are, Natalie”, you are all thinking. Quite.

We were both marvelling at the beautiful display of flowers at the shop next door – it’s times like these that make me forget my hay-fever and develop a strong desire to fill my house with fresh flowers.

Eventually we started to get on the waitress’s nerves, being slightly obnoxious by taking so many photos and saying “Five more minutes, please” in response to the oft-asked question, “Have you decided what to eat?”

A was quite clear with her ordering, she would have the bircher museli with coconut, strawberries and pistachio, decided in a manner of seconds. I admired her, because it took me quite a while to work my way through the menu and decide what to order (lots of things looked good).

The museli was reportedly very tasty, especially with the coconut, but apparently the bircher museli at A Minor Place is better. I’ve tried neither so can’t pass any judgement here. This one does look very good though.

This monster of a dish was my free range poached eggs with a potato and rosemary rosti, avo, relish and an extra of pickled beetroot. I think that a rosti (along with poached eggs) is the measure of a good cafe. So often they come out stodgy, bland, uncooked, overcooked, oily, dry: all manner of evil. The rosti at Mixed Business was very good, one of the best I’ve had. The rosemary gave it a great flavour, it wasn’t drenched in oil and held its form well.

My favourite component was actually the beetroot. A truly awesome vegetable, pickled and sour and deep burgundy.

I really enjoy these egg-breaking photos, the yolk dribbling out is such an appetizing sight.

The menu is very big on eggs, they have a whole section dedicated to poached eggs with a variety of accompaniments. But Mixed Business is strong in the non-egg category as well. I took particular note of the gingerbread waffles with maple syrup baked apples, vanilla bean ice-cream and candied walnuts, the porridge with baked rhubarb, cinnamon pear, yoghurt and toasted almonds, and the roast field mushrooms with goats cheese, hazelnuts and greens.

Now that the food is taken care of, please enjoy the rest of A’s shots, with a little commentary by yours truly.

The cafe had good music, a good vibe, and mixed clientele (with mixed business, no doubt). I particularly liked the blue door, welcoming people in. I did note that there were quite a few kids here. I suppose it is very child-friendly, especially with all the space in between tables to park prams.

The furniture inside it quite simple: wooden tables and white chairs of various styles, plus one very long pew running down a wall. A couple of vintage signs adorn the walls, and the salt, pepper and sugar holders sit on gorgeous little doilies.

I want.

I also want.

A’s minimalist series, I especially like the one with the coat hooks.

A study of SSP, in profile and bird’s eye.

I covet that front desk. It was so worn and damaged and interesting – it had a clamp at one end, suggesting it was once a workman’s table. In all, a very tasty and pleasant time was had at Mixed Business, and if you’re looking for a feed in Queens Parade, I’d suggest coming here.

Mixed Business on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Brunch, Coffee, Fitzroy North