My second trip to Melbourne resulted from a combination of necessities. My boyfriend’s grandparents’ estate was being drawn up and their home cleaned out for prospective buyers. I, lacking any sense of a day job being the caring and devoted girlfriend I am, volunteered to help his father and aunt with the house preparations. Melbourne is also the headquarters of Australia’s flagship H&M store, and I was in dire need of some new clothes. (See: multiple necessities.)
On our third day in Melbourne, we ventured into Fitzroy for breakfast. I had been told by various people that one cannot visit Melbourne and leave without tasting Industry Beans coffee. Since I had failed in that measure on my first trip, I was determined not to make the same mistake.
Housed within a converted warehouse, Industry Beans – like many coffee shops in Melbourne – is famous for roasting their own beans. The front half of the warehouse, decorated in a 19th-century industrial factory motif with the atmosphere of a contemporary hipster hang-out, masks the roastery at the back. Outside the café is a beautiful partitioned seating area bursting with vibrant green plants and cute flowered window boxes. Most of Industry Beans’ design consists of wooden accents and the colour black, but the café’s simple décor doesn’t stop the locals from stopping by for breakfast or brunch. When we arrived at eight on Sunday morning, it was already packed!
We took a seat near the back of the café, since the garden area was full of patrons. The space is huge but well lit and aerated by the ceiling-to-floor front doors. Although very busy, I thought our server was polite and efficient. Both she and the barista (who brought over our coffees) were knowledgeable about their product’s flavours and notes. The place is relatively well-run; customers were given tables as quickly as spaces opened and everyone seemed satisfied with level of table service they received. I know we were.
Of course, when one is eating at a roaster for breakfast, one must try their coffee. I ordered a cappuccino (of course!) that arrived without much delay. I was astounded by the level of expertise that went into the coffee art! What a stunning fern leaf! Now, I’m not one to complain much when the coffee art is little-to-non-existant. I don’t care if you can pour a flower or the Mona Lisa onto my coffee; I do care about the taste of said coffee. And I can firmly say that Industry Beans has been the best coffee I’ve had in Australia to date. The cappuccino was frothy, gentle, and creamy without any harsh tannin at the finish. I loved every sip. I loved it so much, I ordered a second! Industry Beans knows their stuff; I give them a 9/10.
After the exquisite coffee, I was pumped for the food to arrive. We had both ordered the Shanklish Cheese Omelette ($18), which boasted caramelized leeks, za’atar, pinenuts, and crispy kale with a side of sourdough toast. Yum. When it arrived, I knew I had hit the jackpot. It looked gorgeous on the plate and smelled heavenly. Another thing I noted was its decent size, making the price of the meal very affordable.
When I took my first bite of that omelette, I had to put down my fork and just marvel in its deliciousness. What stood out immediately was how well the flavours worked together. The kale – a veggie I’m not the biggest fan of – was well-seasoned, crispy, and partnered the pungent Shanklish fantastically. The cheese itself was dulled by the strong nuttiness of the pinenuts, making it less overpowering. The chefs also didn’t skimp on the caramelized leeks, which were dispersed throughout each bite. It was so wonderful that I began to plan an at-home version just to make sure I could have it again!
If you’ve had breakfast with me, you know that I have to have something sweet even if I’m ordering a savory dish. For the sourdough toast I requested a bit of homemade jam, and I was rewarded with a raspberry jelly that was quite nice but nothing over the top. The sourdough itself was delicious, but whether they are supplied it or bake their own I’m unsure.
My first experience at Industry Beans was a smashing success. It was a perfect start to a long-haul day of shopping, cleaning, gardening, and exploring. Before I leave Australia, I’ll be sure to make another stop and take on the Almond Crusted French Toast ($18) or perhaps the Chia and Polenta Porridge ($15). Oh darn, guess I’ll have to come back a few more times. Honestly, for food, coffee, and service this fantastic, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to numerous visits!