Marios, Brunswick Street, Melbourne

Eating out on a Monday isn't as easy as it looks. It's the night a lot of cafes and restaurants decide to flag after a busy weekend working. Those establishments that are open, are often quite full and don't always easily have room for two hungry girls looking for a cosy meal.

We have had a number of asian-style meals lately (Thai, Japanese, Curry) and were looking for something more comforting and warm with good vegetarian options. This lead us to window shop all along Brunswick Street, and then across and down the other side until we arrived at Marios.

It was pretty busy and looked quite full, but the nice man behind the counter waved us down to a table for two near the back. The cafe was bustling with chatter, but not in an overwhelming way and it was easy to talk. The place was cosy with white linen tablecloths and a peppergrinder on each table. The menu sounded so good it was hard to decide what to eat. I really ought to have paid more attention to what I ordered so I could relate it accurately here because apart from the garlic bread, I can't remember the names nor the descriptions of our food. Mine was a lovely round white plate with little discs of pasta, pea mash, almonds, cheese and green herbs that made both my mouth and my soul very happy. Fox enjoyed her spaghetti very much too (I paid even less attention to her meal, so intent on consuming mine). The garlic bread was so buttery and garlic'y, and everything went wonderfully with the sparkling white wine we ordered. See? I don't even recall the name of the wine, but the meal was just what we were looking for and the portions were exactly right - I dislike places that serve portions that are too large and wasteful. I finished off with a wonderful berry bread and butter pudding I did not need, and an espresso.

The service at Marios was absolutely spot-on. Our waiter (I didn't even ask his name *hopeless*) gave us the exact right amount of time to make our decisions, the food was prompt and correct, and he interacted with us in a charming and happy way - he seemed to enjoy his job and we enjoyed him. He looked after us with correctly-measured attentiveness from when we sat down, until we paid our bill and wished us a nice evening.

Fox had asked me on Sunday, after I had a coffee I said I didn't like, where I thought the best coffee in Melbourne was. I had this pool of places that fell into the area of coffee I liked, with Cafe Five probably floating to the top on the grounds (haha, grounds) that I did not need to add sugar to their coffee. Pellegrino's is probably the "best" coffee, but it's too strong for my delicate constitution (I'm like a little bird). I can now answer her question question easily: Marios on Brunswick Street served me the best espresso I have had in Melbourne - hands down.

Mario and the Marios -