Yarraville's cafe boom rolls on with the latest addition, Giddyup Mule, parking itself in the front of Stephen Street's Art of Cycling training studio. With the help of a fireplace and some greenery, the owners have managed to carve a cosy little home out of the cavernous factory space. Add some sunny footpath seating and a brightly decked-out alcove at the entrance, and you've got one solid cafe pitstop — even if you've no intention of venturing further inside for a spin class.
The culinary offerings here are as virtuous as the location might suggest, and you'll find very little to inspire guilt; it's a coup, especially for the pre- and post-workout set. Clearly, Melbourne's fascination with the hyper-healthy stuff hasn't bypassed this Western corner, where you'll find locally-brewed kombucha on tap, spelt or paleo 'nutri loaf' offered alongside your usual bread options, and cashew whip as a toast topping.
The all-day menu spans a mix of quick-fix options and sit-down dishes designed to be lingered over. At the lighter end, a coconut water-infused bircher comes with poached pear and berry Co Yo ($12), while slabs of that nutri loaf, dense with seeds and nuts, are topped with avocado and lemon ($9).
More substantial dishes lend themselves well to lazy brunches by the fireplace, like the winter salad, which features maple-laced pumpkin, lentils, pearl couscous, radish ($15) and optional grilled chicken tenderloins (+$4). Equally seasonal is the mushroom ragout, here teamed with fluffy whipped ricotta, wilted spinach and a perfectly poached egg, sitting atop that spelt bread ($17).
Fans of Melbourne's one true love — a.k.a the avocado smash — will find lots to like about Giddyup Mule's version ($16.50). Not only is it generous with the green stuff, it's spiked with chopped boiled egg and feta, and teamed with cherry tomatoes, watercress and a zingy kombucha vinaigrette. The bread below it could withstand a touch more toaster time, though that seems to be by design across the menu, rather than dish-specific.
Axil coffee hasn't made too many appearances this side of town, but you can be sure it’s being given a good introduction here (from $3.50). If you're off the dairy, have it with Bonsoy, almond or even coconut milk. Fresh juices and smoothies, Chai Walli chai ($4.50) and teas by Tea Tonic ($4.50) round out the liquid offerings.
Despite all those superfoods and the converted factory digs, there's nary a hipster in sight. Instead, young staff give off a laid-back local feel, and the customers are a mix of gym-goers and unhurried weekend brunchers. If you're after a salubrious cafe fix, without the inner north crowds and price tags, roll west and seek out this little number before everyone else does.
Image credit: Courtney King