Sunday, June 20, 2010

Il Circolo - North Perth

Il Circolo translates to "The Culture" in Italian. It's an apt name to represent the Italian leg of Angove Street's multicultural 3 leg breakfast tricast. Whilst Milkd is the trendy, modern cafe to go to and The Pantry Door offers you the old school French Patisserie option, Il Circolo is a straight forward Italian Trattoria which offers another angle on North Perth's diverse coffee strip. Today, on my way to soccer, myself and North Perth's ginger version of Cristiano Ronaldo - Rusty Reid stopped in at Il Circolo for a full breakfast and a drink before our game.

Of the 3 breakfast bars on this street, Il Circolo is the least frequented by breakfasteers at the weekend. If you walk down Angove Street, you will see crowds of people around Milkd and The Pantry Door but you are always guaranteed a seat in Il Circolo. It gives the impression of a humble cafe, happy to stand in the shadow of the other bars and avoid any hype. We decided to sit outside so I ran in to grab a couple of menus. No menus available but everything is scribbled on the chalk boards at the counter. The menu is different to most places. As with everywhere, they have their signature dish that seems to be popular with most customers. Here it is the Asparagi alla fiorentina which roughly translates to toast, poached eggs, asparagus, and grated Parmesan. Feeling a tad rough, I didn't think I could stomach parmesan so early in the morning so I ordered the bacon & eggs del circolo (translating, bacon and eggs of culture????) Rusty Ronaldo ordered the same but with scrambled eggs and we both got a juice and a coffee. The prices were decent; $12.50 for the Asparagi alla fiorentina or the bacon & eggs del circolo. Rule of thumb, anything under $15 is decent, $15-$18 is typical Perth prices and anything over $18 for eggs benny or any variation is daylight robbery.

Look at this Long black. Spectacular isn't it! They use Moka J-Enna beans, an Italian company dating back to 1878. As you can see from the picture, they serve it in a big cup, filled to the top, with a beautiful thick crema to break you in. I'll not mince my words. This is the best coffee I've had in Perth. Not too bitter, delicious flavour, strong and robust. Rusty had a flat white and the barista made a pigs ear of the decorative leaf in the milk so it looked like somebody had dipped their thumb into it but other than that, no complaints.

When the food arrived, first impressions were that they go for "No Frills" presentation. 2 slices of Italian bread, 2 poached eggs sitting side by side on the plate and a few rashers of bacon next to it all. Other than hard poached eggs (which these slightly were), my other pet hate is having to re-assemble the contents of your plate to be able to eat it. Look at this plate>>>>>>>>
Who eats eggs on toast like this? You cut into the egg and the yolk runs all over your plate. You cut into it on top of your toast, the bread absorbs the yolk and you eat delicious yolk soaked toast with egg white and bacon with it. That's Eggs on Toast 101. To be fair, the toast was beautiful. An Italian loaf sliced not too thick and buttered before being toasted to give it that golden brown hue. The eggs were soft - ISH! They could've been done better but weren't completely hard. The bacon was nice, like Danish bacon you would get in Scotland (and thats the desired effect). Rusty's scrambled eggs were nice. He hoovered them quick enough so i didn't get much time to look. I guess that's a good sign?

Let's face it, this place is always going to play third fiddle to the other 2 big players on this street. However, if you want a quiet breakfast with no hustle and bustle and a quality coffee, this is your place. It's a shame they have these competitors in close proximity as they have a good product and would thrive in other areas of Perth. Marketing could be better as well, Il Circolo doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and in fact, I always referred to it as "That Italian place next to Milkd". They don't have a website either and really could do with getting themselves "out there" a little more.

Scores on the doors:

Service 6/10
Atmosphere 5/10
Coffee 9/10
Food 5/10
Price 6/10

Final Score 31/50

Would I go again?

I'll go back for the coffee, probably a fleeting visit as I head to soccer but as for food and atmosphere, I'll probably choose one of the other 2 first.

Website: Urbanspoons Reviews

Il Circolo on Urbanspoon


  1. Sounds like i'll have to try the coffee again! Btw, brave move suggesting that the name of the café is not good!

  2. I like the name and I'm sure the owner/namer is passionate about it but does it work? I think it might for an upmarket Italian Restaurant sitting in Applecross with a strong reputation already, but as an upcoming cafe, I feel it's just a little pretentious and kinda forgettable. Hence the "That Italian place next to Milkd" name.

  3. I like the name! And I also like the review. I'll definately pop in for a coffee at some point.


  4. I always drive past this place and have wanted to try it. The thing I have found with breakfast is that there isn't THAT much you can do with presentation, although you don't want food just slopped on the plate.

    Nice review! Keep up the good work!

    Also - what happened to your Universal Bar review?

  5. Thanks Liz and Jessie.

    I'm not really this critical and I usually walk out satisfied with the breakfast experience. I see it more as constructive feedback for the manager/owner.

    Having problems with my camera and I need to recover the pictures before I write up the Universal Bar review. Globe, Grill'd and King St Cafe also in the pipeline.

  6. I do agree about the italian toast. Lovley stuff. Looking forward to review for Grill'd as I was under the impression it was a burger bar. Doing well Rainman. Keep it up.

  7. Great review. I will be sure to check that place out. The toast looks especially delicious and toasted to perfection.

    Though, 'il Circolo' translates to 'the Circle' or more adequately, 'the Group' or 'the Club' -- am puzzled as to where you got 'the Culture'; that would be 'La Cultura'.

  8. Hi Diana, thanks for the comments.

    That will teach me to plagarise won't it!

    A lesson learned the hard way and left with a poached, slightly hard egg on my face.