The Boot Factory
In the 1850s, prisoners at Pentridge would trudge into this red brick workhouse to make shoes and boots for the prison guards. It wasn’t a happy place: the smashed av’ was well undersalted, and the coffee lacked body.
No-one would have expected that 150 short years later, this would be one of Coburg’s best brunch bars: AKA The Boot Factory.
The Boot Factory has a scattergun decorating style that makes you think of the words ‘hodge podge’. It’s a cute mishmash of vintage furniture, squishy couches, chunky farmhouse tables and duck egg blue wallpaper, set beneath the huge chimney stack of Pentridge Prison. On one side of the courtyard (directly above the cafe) are boutique apartments, on the other, bluestone walls. It’s an interesting snapshot of Melbourne’s terrifying past and it’s delicious present.
If you’re in Coburg, and looking for breakfast that isn’t a kebab, you’re probably gonna wind up here (or The Glass Den, just ‘round the corner). The breakfast is always on point, and the strong coffee from Toby’s Estate goes down very smooth.
The big question: what to order. It pays to keep one eye on The Boot Factory’s seasonal specials. At the moment they’re doing smoked lamb and leek snags with homemade baba ganoush, poached eggs and slow roasted tomatoes (it’s bloody amazing).
The all-day brekky menu changes with the seasons too. We reckon there’s two ways you can go. If you’re after something healthy, head straight for the Kombucha-baked stone fruit porridge with macadamia crumb and glazed cherries. Damn tasty in winter.
If it’s a cheat meal you’re looking for, our pick is the eggs benny on a cauliflower hash, topped with smoked ham hock and a tangy full mustard, apple cider hollandaise.
The lunch menu isn’t massive, but rounds out the selection with a couple of solid burgers, confit duck leg, and Nourish Bowl (packed with beetroot hummus).
The Boot Factory tends to pack them in on weekends, so head in early if you don’t want to wait for a good table. Afterwards, head along the Merri Creek bike trail or check out The Makers & Shakers Market (if it’s in town).
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White