Angled away from the bustle of Footscray's main streets is Rudimentary, a fresh cafe made from disused shipping containers in an abandoned car park. It's so fresh, in fact, that you can spy the chefs strolling from the kitchen to the garden with a pair of scissors in hand.
It's the first venture into Melbourne's cafe scene for Desmond Huynh and team who have melded and plastered the four shipping containers together, forging an open, sunlit cafe. They're not the first to do it (think Grace Cafe in Fitzroy) but they've blended it with a community-style garden, where visitors can lock their bikes to planter boxes and smell the lavender before taking a sprig home.
Chefs Shane Donelly and Tom Ainslie (both formerly of Duchess of Spotswood) have free reign of the outdoor herbs before they head back inside to dish up modern Australian fare with a hint of Vietnamese.
Inside, forest greens, mustards and creams all await you. And these aren't even the edibles. They are the tasty chairs that may have had a previous life in a 1970s boardroom, but now swivel around the cafe's communal table. We'd recommend nabbing one of these so you can ogle the portions of grub that you couldn't choose between.
Order the buttermilk waffle with fig and pancetta ($14.50) or the soft shell crab burger with green mango and mint ($16.50). An open breakfast bun with cotechino ($10.50) is also a fine choice, as cooking this unctuous Italian sausage is a lengthy process — and here, all the hard work has been done for you.
Head barista Emily Keats is using Small Batch coffee and extracts a fine drop. A filter brew is on the way, but Keats has also spent time selecting some delicate teas, including an oriental beauty: a darker style oolong with intense honey sweetness ($4.50).
Before you leave, grab a smooth soy chai latte ($4.20). It's a house-made recipe from her days spent in London's Taylor Street Baristas and goes well with the chef's freshly made, bleeding strawberry donuts ($4.50).
It's rudimentary, not elementary. And Huynh has chosen some A-teamers to help roll out one stationary ship.
Image credit: Ruby Wang