Captains of Industry

November 9, 2011

Level 1, 2 Somerset Place, Melbourne

Following a spot of late-morning shopping, D and I were up for a spot of lunch, and given that we were in the GPO (Ben Sherman, if you must know), I thought Captains of Industry would be a convenient place to eat. A couple of my friends had recommended the place, so I was keen to try out their food.
Located on the second floor of a building that looks out onto Elizabeth Street, Captains of Industry can be accessed through Somerset Place (the same lane way as Little Mule). Inside is a spacious room with a few large tables strewn about and lots of old-school paraphernalia like shoe horns, ladders, lamps, trunks, sewing machines and boxes of old magazines. There was one particularly large wrought iron table just behind us that looked like it would have needed a crane to get up to the second floor!
Self-titled “Gentlemen’s Outfitters & Cafe”, there’s a small barber room to one side, where I presume gentlemen can get gentlemen’s haircuts. The staff here must be very multi-skilled if they can be chefs, baristas, waiters and hairdressers! (In actual fact I think the haircuts are by appointment and are done by a professional) But it seems coffee is not the only thing made to order in this cafe – they also offer a made-to-measure menswear service, as well as stocking various leather goods and grooming products. Such diversification!
It wasn’t very busy when we arrived, which was a pleasant change from having to fight for a table. First up, our magics. I think they look quite pretty with the red GPO banner in the background. The coffees were good, quite strong with a good lemony kick to the crema.
Check out the teaspoon that came with D’s coffee – it had a windmill on it! A working, twirling windmill! Ahh, this little windmill made my day. (Thank you to D for being my hand model).
Looking at the menu, I had real trouble deciding what to order; so many of their sandwiches sounded delicious. Two vegetarian options in particular caught my eye, the “B.B” – beetroot relish, tomato, fior di latte, spinach, cucumber and mayo, and another baguette with artichoke, butter beans, baby spinach, parmesan, lemon zest and fresh herbs. Yummo.
In the end, D and I both got (meaty) sandwiches and we shared. I started with the Pigs Might Fly: pepper and bay leaf poached chicken, crispy spiced bacon, royal oak lettuce and herb mayo on a baguette. Very delicious, especially the salty bacon. The type of lettuce I thought was also very fitting of the general vibe of the cafe.
The second half of my “pork-two-ways-meal” (because both had some form of pork in them) was the knuckle sandwich, ham hock, pickles, cheddar. D preferred this to the chicken, but thought that the cheese was cut too thickly here. I agreed about the cheese, but I preferred the chicken and bacon baguette.
And all I had in mind when I was eating this was how it wasn’t quite as good as the knuckle sandwich at Auction Rooms. In fact, just writing about it now has me craving it again. Perhaps I can stage a trip in to uni to see my lecturer and then traipse across to North Melbourne….
Birds-eye style people watching was quite an enjoyable exercise as we munched on our sandwiches. A whole parade of goths walked past along Elizabeth at one point: one guy had a mowhawk that must have been at least two feet high! Goodness knows how much hair mousse was needed to get that effect.
In all, a very pleasant and chilled out experience at Captains of Industry, and one that I would gladly repeat.

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Filed under: Coffee, Melbourne CBD