Industry Beans is a hipster place if there ever was one. In one of the back streets of Fitzroy, in a converted warehouse, is where you’ll find it. It might once upon a time have been a place only those in the know would go, but it has long since become a destination for people who love their coffee (so most young Melbournites.).
The first thing you’ll see as you come around the street corner leading to it is actually the outdoor seating area, which looks like a converted shipping container. The slatted sides fold open like large bay windows, and clear roofing means you get natural light from all sides. It was an overcast day when we went (like so many Melbourne days), so we didn’t get to see what it is like in the blast of full sun. The high ceilings make it feels spacious.
There is also more indoor seating, in the adjoining converted warehouse bit, which also uses the clear roofing so customers aren’t shrouded in darkness. The decor is clean lines in mostly natural wood. The serving area black-painted slats similar to the outside, but the light colour palette used for the rest of the area keeps it bright. Inside, there are a couple of long communal tables you can sit at, or off to the side high tables and chairs for twos. Having been there on a weekend previously, it often packs out then. It is also thoughtfully fitted out with air-conditioning for when it gets roasting hot in summer, and heaters for the chilly winter.
It was less busy on the weekday morning when we were there, and we were quickly greeted and shown to seats. One of our party had her lovely new bub along, and the waitstaff seated us at the end of one of the long tables so that there was room for the pram out of a people traffic way. That may be harder to arrange on a busy weekend though.
There you start with coffees, of course. Flat whites were ordered, and tasted nicely nutty, without bitterness (that would be scandalous).
The food menu is a brunch menu (or an all-day breakfast) divided into sections of regular-sized dishes, brunch sides, small plates, share plates, and desserts. It changes seasonally, so eat what you can while you can.
Between us at the table, we had the Truffled Egg, Crispy Beans and Quinoa, and the Coffee Garden. I will confess that the ordering was somewhat skewed by the fact that we had had breakfast with another friend not many hours prior, and that dampened our enthusiasm for the more robust dishes that we would have preferentially chosen in other circumstances..
The Truffled Egg was what I would best describe as a very green dish. The vegetables on the plate were all nicely cooked. The asparagus still had a bit of crunch to it. The cucumbers were firm. As the pictures will show, there was no yellowing of the leaves scattered on the dish. The pea panna cotta was very smooth, light and creamy. Of coarse the poached egg had a runny yolk. Couldn’t taste the porcini powder though, and there were no truffly flavours. It was prettily presented, and alright for what it was, but I wouldn’t order it again.
The Crispy Beans and Quinoa was a less pretty dish, but a tastier one. There was a nice textural crunch in the dish. The avocado and the runny yolk of the egg added creaminess, so you weren’t just getting mouthfuls of quinoa grains. It was all well seasoned, and had savoury, sweet, and slightly spicy flavours.
The Coffee Garden, from the dessert section, was definitely the most beautiful dish of all. It was like a coronation crown had been brought to the table. The tuille gave it height, the flowers and berry gel added colour like jewels.. The coffee caviar was a chef-y and, again, visually striking touch, like more shiny baubles. Despite being creamy white, the coffee custard pudding had a good coffee flavour, as did the cold drip gel piped around it. The pistachio sponge was soft and crumbly. Chocolate soil and pistachio pieces added more crunch. A worthy excuse for having dessert for breakfast, and, I think, highlighted their key product well.
Service was fine.
Industry Beans is worth the wander down the back lanes for the caffeination and if you pick the right dishes. You will probably see some interesting graffiti on your way to and fro as well.
Address: 3/62 Rose Street (at the corner of Rose and Fitzroy Streets), Fitzroy
Phone: 03 9417 1034
Website: Industry Beans