One of the best hidden secrets in Melbourne's CBD is finally trickling out into the mainstream consciousness, and you'd be smart to jump onto this bandwagon before the ever-delightful Captains of Industry becomes the next MoVida and you spend months waiting for your next reservation. Elegant yet unpretentious, the 'Gentleman's Outfitter and Café' is tucked upstairs along one of the many spiralling backstreets of Melbourne, and offers a surprisingly casual attitude despite its stylish clientele.
Whilst you might have previously ventured into the old-world settings at the Captains for a barber or shoemaker, it's their new seasonal menu and reinvention of the bistro from fledging sandwich bar to finer evening fare that has really struck a chord with Melbourne's dining elite and looks set to catapult the versatile business to a new high. As multifaceted as their various services, the Captain's bistro transforms from morning coffee bar to elegant evening dining, with both a la carte and set menu choices available on Tuesday-Thursday evenings (with a view to adding Saturdays in the near future), and their Friday night's feature live jazz music with oysters for all, cheekily titled 'Get Shucked'.
Whilst the bistro's former attention towards bespoke products and a casual atmosphere may have been tailored more towards distinguished gentlemen with a penchant for whiskey, it's adventurous new menu brings Captains of Industry's artisan approach to a high society setting, featuring inspired central dishes such as Coq Au Vin with asparagus, tarragon and truffle, or King Fish with ink, celery and vanilla. Topped off with perfectly sweet treats like the canelé pastries or a lemon tart it's the kind of dining experience that's uniquely Melbourne but manages to hold up to global fine dining trends.
Whilst the prices are higher than in the old days of sandwiches and coffee (the dinner set menu is around $75 depending on how many courses you choose), it's worth saving your pennies for, and definitely worth supporting a truly local, finely-tuned artisan business, which is such a rarity these days and what's so memorable about Captains of Industry.