Bentwood is the new Fitzroy café from the Tinker family. It’s the kind of place you almost stumble upon unknown as despite occupying a large corner unit, it’s on an inconspicuous side street.
Bentwood makes you want to scream “I love what you’ve done with the place”. It’s huge and warehouse like. They’ve retained the bare brick walls, added in some large bright windows, and ran with a terracotta coloured theme, which just works perfectly with their bare brick. What it brings to the party compared to the rest of the family is space. While there’s not much outdoor seating, there’s two large areas of tables instead, and a communal bench overlooking the kitchen which probably seats about 20 people!
The menu is typically Tinker family fayre, with all your usual brunch items, fresh smoothies, bright colours, plenty of veggies and of course a panna cotta. We went for the heirloom carrots, the chilli scramble and the golden gaytime panna cotta. I loved the carrots, the veg was more blanched than cooked, retaining much of it’s crisp and flavour. The beetroot hummus is amazing and just makes this dish so colourful and inviting. The chilli scramble was fairly mild, and we thought including bacon in these was a fab idea (because what isn’t improved with bacon).
We shared the panna cotta as a dessert which was the best decision ever. It’s rich, glorious and indulgent – there’s no kidding yourself this is healthy, even with the fruit. It was a wonderfully sharing option, and would have been way too much for me to eat alone. It also balanced out my healthy carrots nicely. While I’m still not sure what those red things are supposed to be on top, they tasted like a passionfruit wafer and helped to break up the richness of the panna cotta.
Service was incredibly friendly, and staff seemed excited to be there. A few little niggles as you expect with any new opening, as staff are seeking to find their stride and get into a good rhythm, but nothing that won’t come out in the wash after a few busy weekends. Food is definitely top notch and if the panna cotta isn’t already on your bucket list it should be now. Thanks for having us Bentwood!