In Ancient Greece, 'Argo' was the ship Jason sailed in search of the mythical Golden Fleece. There's no fleecing going on here (and no one called Jason), but the service, coffee, location and food are all solid gold.
Argo has stood on this Parade street corner for decades, run by the one family. Young-gun manager Daniel Milky (is there a better name for a barista?), bought the business from his uncle in 2010. Working at a cracking pace (100-hour weeks!), he set the staff standard, building a reputation for super service and perfectionist coffee. Two years later, he's finally had a holiday ‒ but the place continues to run as only a dynasty can.
Driven by the same ethic, Dan's many sisters work the tables and the counter, remembering your name, customising orders and cleaning up toddler graffiti with a smile. There always seems to be enough hands-on-deck here ‒ fortunate, as there are usually more than enough customers (Saturday morning tables are rare: line up next to the herb boxes out the front and wait for a seat).
But if you're in luck, settle in for all-day brunch served with affable efficiency. Don't muck around: flip through the book-like menu to the page marked 'Some Like It Hot' and order 'The Love' burger ‒ a towering, two-hands behemoth sliced down the middle, revealing strata of beef, bacon, egg, melty cheese, caramelised onion and thick discs of tomato.
If you're feeling sub-par, the Argo special is a sure-fire hangover cure ‒ a simple lamb salad which would have fed a village in Jason's time. The wide, shallow bowl is heaped with rocket, rough-hewn fetta, real beetroot, succulent roast capsicum and generous meat, drenched in tzatziki (be warned: they are liberal with condiments here). There's also a super-fresh salad bar for takeaway sandwiches and rolls: try some Dijon-glazed turkey with bacon, mayo, coriander, parsley, avocado, lettuce and alfalfa, and tell us if you don't feel better.
Coffees pair handsomely with zeppole ‒ twisty, sugary Italian doughnuts (just one option in a burgeoning cake cabinet). Big ticks also for gluten-free choices, local art on the walls, free Wi-Fi and unobtrusive background jazz.
So, if you're the sailing down the Norwood Parade, your café quest stops at Argo.