Last Tuesday afternoon, after a quick five minute drive from Victoria University and Footscray Train Station, my sister and I pulled into one of the many carparks lining Donald Street. It had rained earlier in the day so, criss-crossing between the puddles, we traipsed up the sidewalk, aiming for the corner of Donald and Leeds Street.
Rudimentary is a cafe and community space that excels at promoting sustainability in Melbourne's outer city suburbs. Constructed from four shipping containers, it was made to break the current trend of high-rise development. Complete with a steel mesh fence, organic vegetable patch and a flexible menu, we were very excited to try it out.
Passing through the fence and wandering up the short path, we entered Rudimentary; a room of sparsely placed tables and large windows, filling the room with light. We decided to sit outside at one of the tables lining the edge of the café. Our table was slick with rainwater but Rudimentary's jovial and rather innovative waiter wiped it with a window cleaner. Smiling at him, we ordered drinks – a soy chai latte and hot chocolate – and then turned our gaze to the menu.
As always, we couldn't decide what we wanted; the menu was beautiful, filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. There were gluten-free alternatives, vegetarian dishes and the option to downsize a full meal to make it child friendly. From where we were sitting we could see the vegetable patch; nestled behind the café it was flourishing in Melbourne's bizarre weather. We smiled when we realised that its produce probably provides for the whole kitchen.
Looking at the menu, we deliberated over ordering a typical breakfast dish; the choice of sourdough toast or crumpets with housemade jam had us salivating, and we were officially intrigued by the breakfast taco. My sister loved the idea of the duck broth and spiced lentils but, as a sweet tooth, it was the coconut and lime panna cotta with roasted pecans and berries that made me question whoever it was who taught me that a savoury meal always precedes dessert. Eventually, craving fresh and wholesome flavours, we decided on the saute vegetables and roasted vegetable baguette.
Rudimentary is about sustainable philosophy, country and community. Its food was fresh and delicious and, according to my sister's excellent judgement, its hot chocolates are amazing. The cafe is about looking at the world differently, and seeing things as more than they appear to be. It is finding the potential in simple, everyday resources and turning them into something new, and innovative, and brilliant. Overall, Rudimentary is a wonderfully rounded venue that I will definitely be eating at again.