What stood out most to me about Lux Foundry was its old factory setting. A great location even if only the front part of the building is being used, its sense of space on the inside make it one of the more unique Melbourne café settings. With winter’s sudden arrival sitting out the front wasn’t an option but that looked like an interesting space as well, with tables set amongst the small herb gardens.
The setting isn’t all that’s good about here though. Brunswick is a great location for cafes but the food at Lux Foundry more than holds its own. The menu includes a few unusual and interesting touches, presentation and flavour is good and serves are generous. And in a nod to Beaker and Bubba Chuck, it looks one of the more kid friendly places in that part of town, at least for the breakfast session.
Normally it’s only Snooze and myself for breakfast or brunch but on this occasion we were joined by one of the cats, Cat J from the land of incredibly polite and friendly people (Canada). I always thought of this particular cat as a comparatively light eater so was surprised when she went with the Big Breakfast. I am not the biggest fan of this style of breakfast but I must admit to being fairly impressed when it came out. So often it’s a matter of quantity over quality but this looked both substantial and tasty. With scrambled egg, potato hash, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, field mushrooms on sourdough toast, the only items I sampled were the scrambled eggs and the bacon but I can testify that both were prepared well. The eggs were nice and fluffy, the bacon that nice middle ground of being crispy without being burnt and a good balance of fat and meat.
My own choice was the coconut crusted French toast with berry compote, espresso mascarpone, torrene sprinkled over the top and a dash of maple syrup. I’d never had espresso mascarpone before but was quite impressed. Without it the maple syrup and berries could have resulted in an overwhelmingly sweet dish but the mascarpone gave the dish balance. French toast is something I order quite often these days but I thought this was one of the better ones around.
Snooze was overwhelmed by the menu at first, with too many things she liked to choose between. In the end she resorted to asking me what I thought she would like and went with that: the smoked salmon, house cauliflower fritter, horseradish crème fraiche, baby capers, chives and lime, with a poached egg extra. Smoked salmon comes so often with dill it was nice to try something different, although several competing strong flavours (capers, horseradish and smoked salmon) could have been a disaster. Instead, the horseradish crème fraiche and lime cut nicely through the smoked salmon and the delicate cauliflower fritter was a good alternative to the usual corn or potato fritter, or even toast.
While it was a bit of an effort to come out here on a wet and windy Anzac day I’m glad we finally did. Great location and good food, I did get a bit annoyed at the service though. Once or twice the serving staff came across as trying hard to be cool – you either are or aren’t and coming across as trying hard to be cool is definitely not cool. In particular it’s enough to be efficient, polite and friendly, jokes that missed the mark blew the atmosphere a bit at the beginning. I don’t want to overstate it though as the most important elements were all fine, menus distributed soon after arrival, food came out fast and with not much space at our tables plates were removed as we finished. All up, a good café in an area known for them.
Food – 8
Ambience – 8
Service – 6.5
Price – 7
21 Hope Street
Brunswick VIC 3056
Tel: (03) 9387 8075