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Written by on 9 October, 2013 in Restaurant Reviews - 1 Comment

Bebida’s sat on its Smith Street spot since 2003. That’s a decade, FYI. In that time, Smith Street’s drink­ing and din­ing land­scape has changed immensely. To use the par­lance of our time, it’s been #cray­cray. To keep with the chang­ing times the chang­ing tastes and habits of the brunch­ing, drink­ing, graz­ing denizens of Fitzroy, old stal­wart Bebida has under­gone a remark­able, very good lookin’ trans­for­ma­tion. Oh, and bebida is “drink” in Español, for those of you play­ing at home.

Unveiled a cou­ple of months ago, Bebida’s inte­rior is now decid­edly eas­ier on the eye, with a revamped, menu to match — which still sports a def­i­nite Span­ish bent. Inside, local artists and car­pen­try types have pro­vided the rus­tic wooden tables, chairs, and things to perch at, as well as the art­work on the walls. The approach is more pared back than before (if you remem­ber, it was rather more colour­ful and eclec­tic and “quirky”), and the space improves for the adjust­ment. Bebida’s in pos­ses­sion of the req­ui­site Fitzroy cafe win­dows that fold out in the sun­shine, giv­ing the space an open, airy (Span­ish?) feel.

We went to Bebida for breakfast/brunch, admit­tedly with a slight hang­over. Bebida was a joy to our frag­ile, eas­ily mud­dled state. Staff were friendly, the win­dows were open, the cof­fee was tasty. Our wait­ress laughed at our inabil­ity to choose a com­bi­na­tion of juice ingre­di­ents, and rec­om­mended a con­coc­tion that ended up being deli­cious. There’s mer­ci­fully no trace of Sun­day brunch cafe mad­ness at Bebida — only laid back good vibes. For espe­cially good vibes, head out the back to the court­yard; it’s peace­ful, leafy, and feels a mil­lion miles removed from the bustling street outside.

There’s a solid break­fast menu — high­lights include a smoked salmon rosti, and the ol’ reli­able break­fast bur­rito. The Eggs Zeit­geist is enjoy­able, although we’d rec­om­mend adding bacon to enhance the enjoy­ment. That might just our propen­sity for adding bacon to every­thing, how­ever. Bebida’s an all-day kinda joint, so it ups the ante as the sun retreats and court­yard fairy lights are turned on. After dark the menu tele­ports to graz­ing plate ter­ri­tory, by way of Span­ish flavours. While we didn’t get to taste any­thing (it was 10am, guys), the “full on prawns” sound mighty intrigu­ing. As do the pork belly, kan­ga­roo, and salmon options, which change in their guises weekly.

Bebida’s approach to their pro­duce is decid­edly local, and sus­tain­able. This echoes through the menu and onto the drinks selec­tion, with a beer list that’s local and craft-brewed. Happy hour is from 6–7, which pleases us.

Occa­sion­ally the whole “revamp to keep up with the times” thing can feel like a token ges­ture, or fall a lit­tle flat. No dan­ger of that at Bebida; these guys have suc­ceeded immensely, both aes­thet­i­cally (COURTYARD) and with regard to things one puts on one’s taste buds.

325 Smith Street

Bebida Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon

About the Author

Rebecca is a nerd from Melbourne, via Adelaide and South America. She goes by Reb, not Bec, and you can follow her on Twitter if you'd like. @RebNotBec

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