Collingwood’s newest cafe, Lemon, Middle and Orange, is an architectural experiment as much as gastronomic one. The cafe’s crossover neatly reflects the interests of its founders, Margaret Lawless and Liam Ganley, a hospitality lifer and project manager respectively.

Lawless, who recently worked southside at Brassiere Bread, is an Irish cafe veteran, while Ganley was on board with a local construction company. The expats had been tentatively seeking a venue when they discovered the old paint factory on Rokeby Street.

Instead of radically converting the space, they called in John Wardle Architects, along with branding studio Projects of Imagination, to come up with a design that accentuated its industrial heritage. “It’s basically just timber, stainless steel and glazing. It looks fantastic,” says Ganley. “Everything in the cafe’s really pared back. All the internal walls are bare block; they’re not rendered, they’re not treated. The floors are concrete and we didn’t do anything with the ceiling. All the money went into the joinery.”

To take care of the culinary end of design, the pair brought Sam Morris on board. The former Rockwell & Sons and Auction Rooms chef crafted a menu that pays homage to Lawless and Ganley’s heritage. “We bake our own brown soda bread, which is traditional Irish bread,” says Ganley. “Every household has its own recipe for it at home. We bake that on site every morning. It features in our black pudding breakfast dish.”

Coffee is by Syndicate, while a single origin by Clark St Roasters will rotate seasonally.

The cafe is all in a day’s work for Lawless, but Ganley’s still getting his head around being on the floor. “It’s a new experience, so it’s brilliant, like,” he exclaims. “I’m just helping out for the first couple of weeks until they bed down a crew. I’m a fish out of water at the minute.”

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Lemon, Middle and Orange
25–31 Rokeby Street, Collingwood
(03) 9415 1593

Mon to Fri 7.30am–3.30pm
Sat 8am–3pm
Sun 9am–3pm