il Fornaio is a brunchery and panetteria at the top end of St Kilda’s Acland Street. This sharp n’ chic licensed café dishes up breakfast and lunch from 7am, seven days a week. An influence of ethical and sustainable sourcing comes from Head chef Simon Turner who believes that nature provides, and chooses suppliers carefully based on their low environmental impact. As it happens, he also believes in freedom of healthy choice and as such has developed a menu that supports gluten free and showcases the benefits of probiotic eating.
Whilst one is often paralysed by menu indecision, it’s typically due to not seeing exactly what I want on the menu. At il Fornaio, menu paralysis occurred due to wanting everything. Should I choose the #yolo ($18.50) with house cured salmon, pea, avocado and preserved lemon mousse, zucchini, potato fondant, gremolata, baby radish and poached eggs? Goodness. Or what about the eggs mila kunis ($21.50) with Irewara lamb shoulder, smoked tomatoes, poached eggs, spring pea and thyme hollandaise with sourdough (or GF) and crispy saltbush? Oh my. The homer simpson meets peter griffin ($23.50) even got a look in with its fried eggs, smokehouse killer bacon, hunter sausage, mushroom, grilled tomato and super-hot and mild tomato relish - served with Prosecco for $5. Holy wow. The quinoa, cauliflower, kale, globe artichoke, asparagus, hazelnuts, wild mushrooms and lemon and truffle dressing that makes up the I eat quinoa for breakfast in summer certainly tapped into my healthy conscience but didn’t win over on this occasion.
Instead, I opted for eggs ryan gosling because it spoke to me in a low deep voice that said hey grrrrl. I can only presume the dish got its name from its smokey smooth flavours and spicy kick - hot, just like Ryan Gosling. Devils artichoke with fresh chilli and pepper hollandaise gives the poached eggs and homemade ricotta an extra boost to fire up the morning. The eggs were plump and cooked just as poached eggs should be. My gluten free toast sourced from South Melbourne market, along with the home made ricotta, balanced out the spice element of this potentially fiery brunch to deliver a dish that was lively and satisfying.
My friend selected from san sabastian to st kilda offering house corn bread, tomatoes, pineapple glazed smokehouse bacon, paprika crunch and fried eggs. The bacon came out as a slab, much to my approval, and the corn bread was reportedly quite sweet so if you like your sweet and savoury combo this is a dish for you.
There’s a good energetic vibe in il Fornaio although some of the slighter harder edges in the café and darker lightening (it was a very overcast Melbourne morning) could be softened and uplifted with some music to chill things out - although the staff and general positive vibe helps achieve this too, and it’s something easily fixed.
For bread lovers, the panetteria offers a selection of take away artisan bread created onsite by head baker Alessandro Moscon.
With tasty food, ethical eating, attentive staff and excellent coffee - not to mention a good work space with free wifi - il Fornaio is a great laid back option for breakfast and lunch in the calmer part of St Kilda.
2C Acland Street, St Kilda
Open from 7am daily for breakfast and lunch