There’s a spot for everyone at Levi, a bustling cafe that used to be home to a denim factory. On any given day, many of its 170 seats are occupied by families eating near the kids’ corner at the back, solo coffee drinkers absorbed in newspapers, and dogs asleep at their owners’ feet in the front room. The large warehouse-like space is divided into sections with distressed brick counters, glass walls, large plants and long communal benches.
The breakfast offering includes an eggs Benny spinoff, which swaps out pork for slow-cooked beef short ribs with baba ghanoush, burnt-butter hollandaise, and pickled onion to cut through the meat. There’s also poached eggs with herby, labneh-like whipped yoghurt, chilli butter, peri-peri sauce and toasted sesame seeds, all served on two thick slices of Turkish bread to soak up the sauce. The roast chicken roll, which comes with fried chicken skin, gravy and stuffing, is a bestseller that's unlikely to leave the menu.
Coffee beans come from Hallelujah Coffee (which is owned by co-owner Lucas Sproson), and there’s Prana Chai and Grounded Pleasures hot chocolate. Most of the wine is from local Victorian producers, and there are beers from Brunswick’s Foreigner Brewing Co.
The name Levi is an homage to the site’s former life. There are subtle design nods to its history – some obvious, some quite subtle. The facade has a bronze-toned circular plaque with the venue’s name – look closely and you’ll notice it resembles a jeans button. The signage hanging off one side is draped as if on a clothesline. And the paint job around the brick exterior is blue most of the way down, until it switches to white at the bottom – like rolled up cuffs. The cafe is by co-owners Harry Butler (who also owns Frank’s) and business partner Sproson.
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