Neapoli review: Breakfast Out

Published 11 February 2013
View original review at Breakfast Out


Con’s conquest

If anyone has earned the right to be indulgent it’s Con Christopoulos. One of Melbourne’s most successful and prolific restaurateurs, the Christopoulos empire reads like a greatest hits list of the city’s eateries. The Supper Club, Siglo, City Wine Shop, Journal Canteen, Gill’s Diner, Syracuse and the European are just some of the places he’s been involved with over the years—all of them in the CBD and all bearing the distinctive Christopoulos stamp.

So what do you do when you’ve thoroughly conquered a city of passionate diners and drinkers? If you’re Con Christopoulos, you enlist your proven crack team of collaborators and spend two years creating the kind of place you and your mates would like to eat and drink at, any day and all day. The result is Neapoli, a cafe-bar-restaurant-clubhouse-retail hybrid that is in many ways the perfect distillation of his career.

True to form, the place looks gorgeous. The generous curves of the floor-to-ceiling glass frontage are subtly echoed throughout the space, from the solid oak bar to the mezzanine floor above it. Wooden panelling, cracked leather bar stools and couches, an oval boardroom-style communal table and what appears to be a go-go dancing cage give a Mad Men-esque, boys’ club feel to the place without making it seem at all dated.

While Don Draper might look at home at the bar, he’d probably be somewhat thrown by the menu. At Neapoli, sushi rolls, Hare Krishna rice and design-your-own salads rub shoulders with Greek comfort food, curries and classic Italian dishes. The breakfast menu is a little more straightforward, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how adventurous you are first thing in the morning. I’ll admit my eye kept straying to the wackier lunch and dinner offerings and the chalkboard specials, which weren’t available till after twelve.

Still, there’s a lot to be said for simplicity at breakfast. The approach at Neapoli is to provide good quality building blocks—eggs any way, a choice of four different kinds of toast (including gluten-free) and a great range of sides—and let the customer assemble their own perfect meal. A lot of care goes into the little things, like serving cereals with house-made almond milk and toast with hand-churned butter, and the floor and kitchen staff seem to pride themselves on accommodating all tastes and diets.

There are plenty of reasons to come back to Neapoli, most of which can be found on the extravagant, three-page United Nations of menus. Almost worth skipping breakfast and waiting till the clock strikes twelve.