Cafes

Meet The CBD’s Secret Depression-Era Café

By Ellen Seah - 15 Nov 2017


There would be few contenders in the CBD older than 1932 Café & Restaurant. As the name implies, the cafe sits within the Manchester Unity Building which was built in 1930s (time to channel your inner Gatsby).

Tucked into the Manchester Unity Building on Collins Street, 1932 Café sits directly across from the first escalator built in Melbourne (somehow, it still works). Other historical gems dotted around the Victoria-style space include the first post box in our fine city and advertisements from the 1930s within the café.

The café and restaurant itself is open for un-caffeinated early birds and serve lunch until late. The all-day liquor license means an 8am white is 100% acceptable (just leave your dignity at the door).

Brunch favourites include the roasted pumpkin hummus and poached eggs with kale, spinach, broccolini and almonds. Add chorizo or haloumi if that sounds a mite bit too healthy for your tastes.

The Brioche French Toast with poached rhubarb, white chocolate pistachio coconut crumble and maple mascarpone sauce and fruit is another highlight. If you’re in a hurry but are craving something better than butter and bread, The Collins with free range soft scrambled eggs, caramelised balsamic onion jam, sriracha mayo, chives, American cheese on a warm brioche bun is for you.

Eggs Benedict is given a modern makeover and served with 16 pulled pork, sautéed spinach and granny smith apple on organic sourdough with smoked paprika hollandaise.

At lunch (when 1932 Café & Restaurant’s boutique wine and beer menu becomes much more socially acceptable to reach for), we’re gunning for the braised lamb shoulder ragu with linguini, rocket, grana padano and herbs. The Asian-style calamari salad is the pick once the weather warms up, but pizzas of the day, as well as four permanent pizzas, are always a table winner.

If you’re curious about one of Melbourne’s oldest (and heritage-listed, did we mention that?) buildings, 1932 Café & Restaurant also run weekly Sunday tours which gives guests exclusive access to areas throughout the space. You can also pair it with breakfast, lunch or afternoon cheese and wine sessions. See you there.  

Image credit: Griffin Simm for The Urban List 

Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by 1932 Cafe & Restaurant and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. 

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