Parco is on a traffic island just south of Carlton’s Argyle Place. Jarrod Balme and Adrian Pagano (of roaming hotdog cart Juan Fiddy turned the former power substation into a cafe in winter 2018.
With the help of Therefore Studio, the kerb-side eatery has been reworked to feel like an extension of the neighbouring park; it has benches and umbrellas painted an unobtrusive muted green. The exterior remains relatively untouched, bar a luxurious slab of forest-green marble under the front bar.
Dishes on the tight menu are fuss-free, ready for devouring in the park. Parco’s take on a breakfast banh mi is maple-glazed bacon, fried egg, pickled carrot, coriander and miso mayo in a brioche bun. Or, take your brioche in a thick slab, toasted and topped with ricotta and jam. House-made granola comes with yoghurt, rhubarb and fresh apple. There are pastries by Dench Bakers, too.
Abbotsford’s Coffee Supreme provides rich blends, and there’s hot chocolate from Koko Black. Milkshakes come in Oreo and blue heaven flavours.
In winter the cafe hands out rugs for customers; and in summer, bocce sets and picnic blankets.