Julien Moussi, who owns Bentwood, is also behind Tinker in Northcote, Penta in Elsternwick, and Stanley in Mount Waverly, among others.
Bentwood, with its vast brick, stucco facade and near floor-to-ceiling windows, occupies a large corner site on Fitzroy’s leafy Napier Street. The fit-out makes use of rich tones of burgundy, brown and orange. It’s warm but luxe, with soft leather banquettes, blonde-timber Bentwood chairs and exposed brick.
The building was once home to the Thonet furniture showroom – coincidentally where Moussi bought chairs for his first cafe. Little brass plates remain in the brickwork floor referring to different chair models, such as Le Corbusier and Bresso. Look up: you’ll see a tessellating pattern of red-steel squares filled with a subtle amber glow.
The spacious cafe seats 115 people and is filled with natural light. Coffee comes from Moussi’s Inglewood Coffee Roasters, and the menu features cafe classics with some twists. The chia pudding is an example. It’s made with a so-called “butterfly blue” tea that changes colour when you add lemon.