n interesting new dining room has opened in Fitzroy. A collaboration between couple Keir Vaughn (a communication designer) and Emma O’Mara (an interior designer) with her father Tom a silent partner, The Brix opened its doors late last week and is a breath of fresh air on the Brunswick Street strip.
“We wanted beautiful, simple food based on a contemporary French bistro, in a beautiful non-pretentious environment so it’s accessible,” says O’Mara. Don’t walk into The Brix anytime of day for a coffee. It’s more than a cafe, which is intentional. They have chef Joel Alderton, who has done substantial stints at Attica and The Royal Mail, at the helm in the kitchen, which raises the bar from the outset.
The dinner menu is a la carte three nights a week with a set menu Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday lunch. “It’s a fantastic way of eating,” O’Mara enthuses, “Joel wanted to get as fresh produce as possible and to create new dishes as much as possible.”
While you can pop into The Brix any time for a glass of wine and charcuterie plate, there is a definite structure to the place. Open for lunch and dinner (and breakfasts just on weekends), there are no share-plates or hints of Italian or Spanish flavours. “High-Italian and high-Spanish has been done in this city and done well,” explains Vaughn. “But I think French food has more of a facade that people think it’s stiff and there’s a snobbery attached to French cuisine. We’ve chosen to break that down and make it fun by choosing a bistro and recreating the word bistro.”
Designed by O’Mara, the small room is elegant in its simplicity, with the highlight being an enormous, luscious still-life photograph – composed and styled by Vaughn and O’Mara over two days in a garage in Windsor and shot by photographer Gerard O’Connor.
The Brix (named after degrees Brix which measures the sugar content in wine) is a studied, deliberate dining room, thoughtful and structured. “We’ve combined all our passions,” smiles O’Mara.
“We’re very passionate about food and wine and we’re designers,” adds Vaughn. The quality and focus of a place like this can only be good for Fitzroy, which has seen its share of culinary mediocrity over the years.
Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 6114
Wed to Fri noon–5pm, 6pm–10.30pm
Sat 8am–5pm, 6pm–10.30pm