The first thing that has you smiling when you step through the door of the newly opened Frankie’s Top Shop is the verdant colour palate, with lush green hues across the velour banquette seating, the smart stretches of subway tiles, the streetside umbrellas, and the plants hanging from the ceiling.
It’s an upbeat colour scheme for an upbeat little spot, housed in a former corner shop and set happily amongst the wide, tree-lined streets of West St Kilda.
Throw in some free-flowing Prosecco, a room full of friendly locals, and an appearance by the miniature dachshund after which Frankie’s was named, and it was cheery vibes all round when my plus one and I arrived to check out the new neighbourhood gem during its Tuesday evening launch party.
Frankie’s is a modern interpretation of a cafe and food store, offering a dine-in menu of produce-driven cafe fare, walls of gourmet pantry staples, and a display cabinet heaving with droolworthy take-home meals and sweet treats. Gazing across at the shelves of vibrant salads, miso salmon fillets, and chicken and leek pies left us pretty excited to sample what this kitchen had to offer and we weren’t disappointed.
Green-aproned staff brought around trays loaded with goodies; meaty house-made sausage rolls crusted in flakey pastry, beef sliders on crisp brioche buns, mini potato rostis crowned with smoked salmon, avocado topped corn fritter rounds, cauliflower pakora redolent with Indian spices, and cones filled with battered fish and sweet potato fries — all impressive and all as vibrant as the decor.
Chatting to food writer, chef, and Frankie’s owner Michele Curtis, and spying the enthusiastic locals revelling in her work, it’s clear this foodie hot-spot has all the makings of a firm neighbourhood favourite. And that has even this Northside-leaning gal planning many a future weekend brunch visit.
Libby Curran is a freelance writer, craft beer nut, and lover of all things food. She can usually be found eating and drinking her way around Melbourne, or writing about any deliciousness she’s recently encountered.
Frankie’s Top Shop
20 Cowderoy St
St Kilda West, 3182