We almost had Industry Beans to ourselves on Tuesday morning. I suppose it's not prime time for a fancy breakfast but we had Michael's birthday as an excuse. This cafe is another converted warehouse space with a coffee roastery and brunches that creep towards $20/plate. And in spite of that warehouse aesthetic, none of the food could be construed as minimalist. Muesli boasts chai-infused milk and smoked chocolate, steel cut oats are studded with superfoods, French toast includes 'cold drip coffee maple pearls'. The 9+-component Oolong Tea Salad would fail Michael Pollan's great-grandmother test, although with its sprouts and besan balls it could be the most nutritious dish on the menu.
Lucky for me, this coffee roastery also takes tea seriously. My quince-vanilla green tea (~$4) was served with a double-walled glass and timer for optimal brewing.
Michael tested out their deep fried eggs ($18), perched on asparagus spears, orange-infused sweet potato puree and parsnip puree, garnished with capsicum curls. They passed, and then some.
I had paid little attention to the stream of Industry Beans posts in my feedly, and only perked up at @cupcake_central's tweet about their vegan tofu brûlée ($14). This, I had to try. The brûlée is lemon flavoured and mildly sweet, dotted with air bubbles and covered with a crisp sheet of 'torched sugar. It's unmistakably tofu, but that didn't irk me at all. The brûlée comes with blueberries, a few dabs of pomegranate molasses, and several sprigs of caramelised rosemary. I wasn't sure quite what to do with that rosemary - it's really too woody to eat, but its fragrance adds to the experience anyway.
At first glance the menu looks vegetarian- but not vegan-friendly: oats, beans, burgers and avocado all seem to be laced with dairy, and breakfast eggs abound. But beyond the above brûlée and lunch time salad, I have a hunch that other items might be vegan-adaptable. After all, they're going to the trouble of offering 'housemade margarine' with the toast!
On paper Industry Beans is outrageously pretentious. Regardless, our breakfast was well executed and satisfying, and the staff were highly personable. The bill didn't vastly exceed what we're typically hit with around Fitzroy. I'd choose it again over St Ali if I felt like something a little froufrou.
The adventurous spirit of Industry Beans' menu has excited many bloggers, though there are mixed opinions as to whether they've followed through with the goods; see PETIT MIAMx, Poppet's Window, MEL: HOT OR NOT, Fitzroyalty, The bare necessities and then some....., the coffee edit, thehangrybitch, I'm So Hungree, Yellow Eggs, grazing panda, HAPPY.LITTLE.FRUCTARD, peach-water, Popcorn & Toast and Let's Get Fat Together.
Warehouse 3, corner Rose and Fitzroy Sts, Fitzroy
veg breakfasts $5-18
Accessibility: The cafe has a flat entry and generously spaced tables, with tables varying in height. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.