Captains Of Industry

Level 1, 2 Somerset Pl
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9670 4405

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There is a special, bric-a-brac appeal about this gentlemans outfitter and café in the CBD… tucked-away up a flight of stairs in a laneway off a laneway.

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Walking in, it feels almost as if time has stopped and you’re part of history.

In an ‘oasis of time’… back in ‘old Australia’. In an era of guns and honour, of smithies and tradesmen.

The hard but honest life.

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There’s a tailor, a shoemaker, a leatherworker, and a barber.

And a display shelf full of relics from the past.

Sit down and have a coffee, or how about a cider? And why not have a sandwich with that?

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…Alright, that’s enough boo-shit lyricism, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of this post.

Fakegf and I had piccolos $3.50 here while we waited for Lauren. It was a Tuesday in Autumn. Only here, you can have a cup of coffee on a sewing machine table, complete with said machine!

With a toddler in tow, time stretches and becomes malleable. But Lauren eventually located the café’s tricky entrance, and we greeted each other with the exuberance of a reunited pack of (food blogging) doggies… *wag wag*

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This was the first time I’ve witnessed such an adorable drink – the babyccino!! Lauren explained that it’s basically frothed milk with a sprinkle of chocolate powder on top. Good enough to silence a kid while its adult savours a good cup of coffee in peace…

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Although I’m not all that good with children, it’s always a delight to eat out with Lauren and her kids. All the patterns and rhythms involved in a brunch session suddenly changes and it intrigues me. I’d look on at all the colours and antics with bemused fascination. From the way the child would precariously grab the babyccino cup whilst with sitting low on an adult’s chair, to how she would, with half-sure hands, tackle a delightful gingerbread cookie

And I’ll have to say the juxtaposition between a bright and colourful child against a mood-filled and historical café jolted me into a smile too.

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I wouldn’t call the menu here elaborate, but what’s on offer satisfied. Both Fakegf and Lauren had the mushroom sandwich w chilli, rocket, swiss $11 and they enjoyed its simple goodness. Lovely cheese used!

The serving system is quite laid back. Claim your spot, read the board behind the counter and choose your dishes, then order at the counter. The rest of the time you’re pretty much left to your own devices.

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I had the bacon & egg sandwich $11, which was good, except they went a little heavy with the balsamic vinegar.

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But what touched me the most was this kind-hearted gesture by the people here. Many places are not all that fond of noisy kids who’d tend to scream, drop, break and spill things. But those working here seemed to have retained an old-fashioned air of chivalry. Without asking, Lauren’s toddler was gently given this old pick-up-sticks game to play with. Of course kids these days, even at the tender age of 2, prefer playing games from an iPad’s bright screen. But still, that act of thoughtfulness won my heart towards this café.

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This is one of those places where it’s more about concept and ‘feel’ rather than food or coffees. I can sense that I would like to come back here again just to sit there and ‘be’. Read a book, tinker with my laptop, or just gaze into an unknown distant horizon… And that little gesture they did for Lauren’s child fixes this visit as a memorably pleasant brunch session in the vaults of my mind.

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