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.Bebida 325 Smith Street