Around 20 years ago, Kirsten Taylor wanted to open a beatnik-style underground bar in her hometown of Canberra, complete with “poetry, turtlenecks and bongo drums.”
Instead, she and husband Richard moved to Melbourne and opened Fairfield cafe Hoppa and Joe in 2016, but the bohemian dream lingered. So the following year, they opened Neon Beatniks, a polished cafe with a monochrome fit-out, save the green from a number of indoor plants.
The kitchen pumps out creative, comforting brunch dishes. A kimchi bowl with sticky pork belly, and dahl fritters with avocado and turmeric puree and coconut sambal are hearty and punchy. The baked eggs with 24-hour braised ribs are another stand-out.
Hoppa and Joe’s breakfast bruschetta (avocado, bocconcini, cherry tomatoes and basil) has made the trip to Brunswick. And hangover-friendly toasties and cakes work well with the consistently good Maling Room coffee.