Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another city, another Reuben - Captains of Industry

Captains of Industry
Level 1
2 Somerset Pl.
VIC 3000
Ph : (03) 9670 4405

Open : Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm. 10am to 5pm on Saturday & Sunday

In some ways, 2011 was the year of the Reuben, sandwich-wise, so it seemed only fitting that during a visit to Melbourne, I go in search of another one.

Why this one? Well it was actually less to do with the presence of a Reuben and more to do with photos I’d seen of the interior – I like old barber’s chairs, and own one from the 1890s. I was also curious about their website, which leans perilously close to the overly self-conscious, with hints of borderline hipster.

Up the inevitable staircase to a view looking towards the GPO building on Elizabeth St is a large warehouse like space with less of the 'outfitters' aspect than I’d expected from the website, and more of the café aspect, with window seating, mismatched chairs and a mix of small and large tables amidst a junk shop aesthetic of old cash registers, shoe lasts, non-functioning clocks (that bit bothered me a bit, what's the point of having clocks if they don't tell the time?), suitcases, sewing machines, kitchen bits and bobs, school paraphernalia, and other remembrances of life in the last 60 years or so.

The same items in your grandparents' garage might look like items to throw out; here, they are all part of a carefully constructed look, with less self-consciousness than I had expected. I suspect that this is a lot to do with the fact that the customers who were there that day were a broad mix of locals, and not hipster dominated.

That day’s lunch companion had the B.L.A.T. (crispy bacon, cos lettuce, avocado, tomato, house mayo, and HP sauce on a fresh baguette - $12).

How much are B.L.A.T.s nowadays? I have no idea, since I don’t eat them, but this was a good enough size to be filing, the bread with a good crust, the bacon as he likes it, the avocado not skimped-on.

Before I get to the Reuben, I also ordered a ginger beer. This is a good ginger beer. It didn’t come out of a bottle, but was made using concentrate which is stored in a rather large jar. Presumably it is made in-house, or by someone known to them, as it was a killer ginger beer, with the sharpness of fresh ginger, and not too sweet. It’s worth visiting COI for this, if you like your ginger beers.

Finally, the Reuben Sandwich (slow cooked corned beef, melted Swiss cheese and winter coleslaw on 7 grain loaf - $13). So it wasn’t quite a Reuben, the coleslaw being well, more Rachel than Reuben, and yet again there is my bugbear about Reubens in the U.S. being rather more generous with the filling than most Australian Reubens are (my lunch companion on that day is from Illinois, and made the same comment about filling), but as a sandwich, it was a decent one, albeit it with more coleslaw than meat, though I’d probably order something else next time.

I like being surrounded by old things, and Captains of Industry is the sort of place I wouldn’t mind hanging out in. Although it only opened in 2010, it does feel as though it has been around for a while, and not because of the interior design, but because of the atmosphere that was created by the people there. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, thank goodness. The Reuben was not as I’d expected it to be, but the overall experience was one that I would be happy to repeat. Oh, and there are some homemade jars of jams and preserves for sale, if you like that sort of thing.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out the cafe called spilling the beans located at 215 Clarence street, Sydney. They have the authentic New York reuben.

Best in Sydney.