Level 1/2 Somerset Place
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9670 4405
One good thing about having a partner who lives on the Gold Coast is that I don’t have to see his stupid face every day. However, one bad thing about having a partner who lives on the Gold Coast is that things can either be hard to find up there or sold at ridiculously inflated prices. This means that it’s often up to me to source these things (whether it’d be a certain item of clothing, hair product or food) and either post them to him or bring them with me when I’m flying up for the weekend. Don’t get me started on the time I once flew to the Gold Coast with six Vietnamese pork rolls in my bag (just as well I was 1) sitting at the very back of the aircraft and 2) I was sitting with scumbag St Kilda supporters who were migrating north for the weekend so the smell blended in).
A while ago, Marty asked me if I could find a particular matte paste by his favourite hair product brand, Uppercut Deluxe before I flew up for the weekend. As far as he knew, there was a store in Chapel Street that stocked them. Because I was pretty busy that particular week, I really didn’t have time to go to Chapel Street before flying up (okay, more like I couldn’t be bothered but shush, don’t tell him that). However, after making a few calls I found out that a little barbershop-slash-café in the city sold them. I thought, ‘Great! I could duck in there during my lunch break, get the stuff and maybe grab a little lunch too!’
So the first time I went, I walked in the pouring rain to Captains of Industry, probably one of the coolest places in the CBD. The line to the counter was massive, which was understandable given that it was a Friday lunchtime, so I used that opportunity to check out my surroundings. It may have been lunch hour in 21st century Melbourne but it felt like I had been transported back to the 1930s.
Old Singer machines sat proudly against one wall, presumably to create the bespoke footwear, leather accessories and clothes that the owners of this place had advertised on their website.
On one side, there was an old school barbershop manned by a guy called ‘Sam,’ who we can safely assume was not at all like Joey Scandizzo. And all around the café, there were old clocks, old scales and old everything . The whole thing was so cool, so vintage and so AWESOME. I wish I could have taken more photos but there are about a dozen blogs floating around that have such photos published – and they took way better pics than what I would have done anyway – so feel free to look at their blogs, heeh!
Once I reached the end of the queue, I made a beeline for those products and while I was at it, ordered what was called The Knuckle Sandwich ($13), because it sounded pretty epic (not only because of the word ‘knuckle’ in it but also because the first letter of each word is capitalised – ooh-er!). The girl who took my order had an attitude problem, wasn’t terribly good at maths or just had a really bad day for she did not smile at all when I placed my order. On top of that, she miscalculated my change – twice. I can’t remember exactly what happened for this occurred months ago but suffice to say that it did marred my Captains of Industry experience and it would be a while until I came back again.
But anyway, I finally made it back to my office to enjoy my Knuckle Sandwich. Although the sourdough bread was a little dry, it wasn’t a bad sandwich overall. The pulled ham hock had a slightly smoky taste which went well with the sweet pickles and cauliflower while the vintage cheddar slices added a lovely sharpness to the whole thing. Dry sourdough aside, it was a sandwich that had the power to knock any wannabe boxer out.
The next time I went was when Marty wanted me to look for another Uppercut Deluxe product (man, this guy). By this time, his local hairdressers at Pacific Fair were already stocking Uppercut products, the particular one he wanted had run out. Or something. Anyway, this gave me an excuse to enjoy a quiet post-gym breakfast away from the weekday crowds.
Unfortunately, the cute guy at the counter told me that they didn’t have that particular product in stock. However, he did offer to send me a text message when they do get some more stock if I left my mobile number with them (which, of course, I did and sure enough, I got the text several days later). Once that was done, I sat down by the window overlooking Elizabeth Street to enjoy a very light breakfast before my 11:30am Bodypump class.
The breakfast options here are pretty light. In particular, the toasted muesli with fresh organic yoghurt and stewed rhubarb ($8) sounded perfect. Adding a splash of warm milk to my muesli (home-made, yo), I swirled the whole thing around so that it became a lovely, warm, sticky mixture of oat-y, cream-y and tang-y goodness with a dollop of natural sweetness.
The comforting dish not only warmed my soul that cold morning but also provided enough energy to smash through my work-out, but not so much that I suffered a bloated stomach at any point during the morning. It was delicious and best enjoyed when watching a cop car pull over a Commodore who made an illegal turn on the corner of Lt Bourke and Elizabeth Streets from one level up, heeeh!
I ordered my default latte ($3.50), which was made with beans supplied by master roaster Josh Bailey up the road in North Melbourne. My drop was a beautifully sweet coffee with lovely toffee notes, which I enjoyed immensely despite the fact that the milk wasn’t as creamy as I would have liked (or at least, not as creamy as what I think full-fat milk should be like).
The lovely muesli, the tranquil Sunday morning atmosphere and the friendly service that day made me forget about the sulky girl who almost marred my Captains experience all those months ago. I can definitely see myself coming here again for breakfast while I wait for Marty to get his hair cut. Anyone can open up a café in Melbourne as long as they can make good coffees and churn out hearty breakfasts but Captains’ quirkiness and the fact that it offers more than just food means that it will not be a sinking ship.