To name a cafe Mixed Business is somewhat questionable. It conjures up images of CBD convenience stores, suburban milk bars or even a horrific mixed cuisine situation (one of the more obvious telltale signs of a venue doing too much to be any good at any of it). So it's ironic that where Mixed Business triumphs is in simplicity. It revels in a just right-ness that makes it the best place to brunch in Clifton Hill — and one of the best in the inner north, too.
Spanning a single shopfront adjacent to the Queens Parade/Hoddle Street junction, the cafe doesn’t look anything more than a local coffee stop — and, really, it isn’t. But what makes Mixed Business special is that it's taken a suburban space, added an approachable cafe menu and made it memorable. Which means that, on the weekend, locals aren't the only ones trying to nab a table.
That doesn’t mean it's not teeming with people during the week, either. Clifton Hill locals drop in for a Seven Seeds coffee — making full use of the enchanting backyard-turned-outside dining area that runs down the side of the property — and noon sees a rush of nearby workers file in for their takeaway pork and fennel meatball hot rolls ($10.50). The interior is white and bright at any time of the day, with concrete flooring and an old workbench table (complete with vice) acting as the counter, coffee dispensary and cake display.
But it's the all-day breakfast menu that warrants your undivided attention. The offering is not extensive, but it manages to be reliable and exciting, without limiting your choices. A simple favourite here is the creamy porridge with baked rhubarb and cinnamon pear ($10), as is the Ploughman's Breakfast: a well-presented board topped with a boiled egg, vintage cheddar, tomato, pickle and pork belly rillettes ($17).
Eggs on sourdough are made less than standard with a selection of ingenious add-ons. With options like the juicy slow-roasted pork belly with cabbage and house mustard, the smoked salmon with pickled beetroot and the potato and rosemary rosti with avocado and house relish ($15-17.50), it's a hard decision to make. And if you're after something blatantly decadent? The apple pie waffles with maple baked apples, pecan crumb and ice cream ($17) should do the trick.
It's rare that a small cafe can remain so memorable, but once you visit Mixed Business it just makes so much sense.
Travel & Leisure
Sunday, February 7 - Sunday, February 7
Fitzroy North Primary School