he old Rhombus Surf Shop space has been reborn as Martha Ray’s, a Fitzroy cafe keeping things pretty low-key. The single page menu lists all-day food, as well as Costa Noosa coffee, Storm in a Teacup teas, and flavour-of-the-month Jarritos sodas.
Co-owner and chef Pablo Britton (ex-MoVida and Rockpool) says the compact menu will continuously evolve to remain seasonal. “I think people find it refreshing not to be swamped with too much choice,” he explains.
Current menu options include a breakfast roll filled with omelette, bacon and tomato pickle, black pudding (with heirloom carrot, fennel and herb salad on brioche) and a New England-style corn chowder, which will warm the cockles of your heart on a chilly autumn afternoon.
There are also some excellent sandwiches – the pork belly with cabbage and apple slaw is apparently trotting out the door. But we reckon the meatball baguette with smoky tomato sauce, Grana Padano and basil is a winner. The vegetarian version currently features eggplant and Britton is planning to trial a more textural vegetable dumpling.
All of the meat at Martha Ray’s is organic (from Donati’s in Carlton) and fruit and vegetables are purchased fresh from the market.
Britton will soon draw on his experience as a pastry chef at Rockpool to expand on the sweet offering, so keep an eye out for some impressive cakes and tarts.
Running the front-of-house is Britton’s MoVida mate and fellow co-owner, Vince Conboy. He’s responsible for building the beautiful Jarrah parquetry tables and counter, while a friend created the bespoke aluminium stools, which complement the stripped-back 1950s Sebel chairs.
It’s a smart looking place – understated without being unwelcoming. Choose from a handful of tall stools in the front window and along the walls of the slender room, or bunk in at a table for two or four.
The order of the day at Martha Ray’s is most definitely quality over quantity.
85 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Mon to Fri 7.30am–3.30pm