Until about a fortnight ago there lay on the corner of Dawson St and Molesworth St a vacant unit, the empty shell of a failed Costa Coffee. I liked that Costa, but I suppose opening a cafe on Dawson St in the middle of a recession was always going to be a risky proposition.
And then... Fixx opened. This is not the first Fixx cafe, but it is the first one I've been to, and I had no idea what to expect. So let's start off with the most important thing: the quality of the coffee.
I was mildly disappointed by my first drink, a cappuccino, but I think that's more a matter of personal taste than a flaw in the preparation: I was hoping for a more 'wet' cappuccino with more of a foam texture throughout the drink. However subsequent cappuccinos - once I knew what to expect - were fine. I liked the macchiato.
To get a broader perspective I got the views of other regular coffee drinkers. They were very positive, especially about the latte and cappuccino. The only criticism I heard was of the espresso, although personally I thought it was a pretty solid offering. So overall, I'd regard the coffee as good but not exceptional. I'll give it more time though - I suspect it has potential to be better than I've given it credit for so far.
The service attitude is excellent: fast, accurate and genuinely warm. I like that Fixx has loyalty cards - buy nine coffees, get nine stamps, get a free coffee. I like even more than when I forgot to get a few stamps one morning and returned later the girl behind the counter filled out the card and politely asked "Would you like your free coffee?"
There are two counters, one for sit-down and one for take-out. I'm not sure but this might be the reason for the speed of service. I've never had to wait more than a few seconds to be served.
The decor is... acceptable. I liked Costa's chairs and tables; Fixx is OK but is neither heart-warmingly snug nor impressively stylish.
Prices are typical for the area i.e. moderately expensive.
Conclusion: certainly not perfect, but serves good coffee and provides excellent service. Has real potential: I wouldn't be surprised if over time I get to really like the place. Right now, it's my default destination for coffee during the workday.
Update, 10th July 2010: It's happening... I'm starting to like the coffee there more each time I try it. Had a latte today. Oh. My. God.
Update, 16th July 2010: The coffee is still good, but service has disimproved. The take-away counter has been closed, with a single counter now being used for both sit-in and take-away. The result: queues and delays. I'm told there's a shortage of staff. This really isn't sensible - the fixed overheads such as rent must be very high for this location, so there's no point scrimping on staff numbers and putting at risk the cafe's service and reputation.
Update, 25th September 2010: The Bald Barista has turned the service around.