Melbourne's Best Snacks: Napier Quarter's anchovies and boiled egg on toast

Published on 8 December 2021

Photo: Napier Quarter's anchovies and boiled egg on toast (illustrated by Beci Orpin).

Napier Quarter chef Eileen Horsnell was looking to create “the perfect little snack on toast” when she hit upon a combination of anchovies, boiled egg, and salsa verde.

It sounds simple, but there’s alchemy in the signature dish of the backstreet Fitzroy café and wine bar.

The bread from Baker Bleu is rye, with a hint of caraway. It’s blanketed with a rich whole egg mayonnaise heavy on the Dijon. Next come slices of hard-cooked egg, courtesy of free-range, pasture-fed chickens. There’s a stripe of herbaceous salsa verde and then the pièce de résistance of fat, premium Olasagasti anchovy fillets hailing from the Cantabrian sea.

Riding shotgun is a cheek of lemon – for squeezing, of course, and because it looks great in photos, which might explain why this dish has become Horsnell’s most celebrated creation as well as something of a bête noire over the last five years. “We serve about 300 a week,” she says. “I tried to take it off the menu but there was pushback so now it’s a verbal special every day.” Its adaptability is another strong suit.

Accessorise it with coffee – it’s breakfast. With chilled red – it’s lunch.

A snack for all seasons, then. Just make sure you order before 5pm.

By Larissa Dubecki

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