There are many things to love about Melbourne, but one big plus point is the density of independent restaurants and cafés. People are passionate abut what they do, produce is high quality and flavourful, coffee is locally roasted, if not in the cafe or restaurant, at one nearby. I didn’t meet one jobsworth nor did I at any point get a coffee that was as hot as the centre of the sun (hello London, you could work on that, although you are getting a lot better).
So, what was I to do? It was simple. If I was waking at 3am, I would need to embrace jet lag and have lots of breakfasts. One breakfast when WIDE AWAKE and jet lagged at 7am, and another at noon for lunch. I wanted to get under the skin of the Melbourne breakfast, and I did. Here is my list of the best places for breakfast (or brunch) from my trip, based on the three areas that I stayed in on my last visit.
Enjoy and if you have any that I have missed that you think are essentials (I am sure there are more than a few), please leave details for other readers in the comments below (and for me, as I will be returning soon). Thanks!
I started in St Kilda choosing to spend my first few nights there. It is by the sea, and is quite relaxed, it is also very convenient to the airport by bus. At the weekend it is all about the brunch with so many cafés.
Miss Jackson is a very cute bright cafe tucked down a side street a little off the main drag. I was there earlier and it was very laid back. I had one of my most fun and delicious breakfasts here, a bacon and egg hot dog in brioche bun. Coffee is great and the service is very relaxed and friendly.
Fitzrovia is bustling and larger but no less good. Open all day and serving dinner as well as breakfast and lunch, the creme brulee french toast banana, whipped mascarpone, toasted pecans and grilled Istra bacon with vanilla verjus syrup was a show stopper. Coffee is roasted by St Ali. The pastries looked great too. There is a large outdoor seating area on the terrace outside of the restaurant as well as lots within.
South Yarra is downtown and a lot busier but I would recommend it as a base to stay for a bit. There are lots of great cafes and restaurants in the area, as well as some pretty good shopping for those that want that.
Two Birds One Stone
An airy bright cafe with high ceilings and large windows, Two Birds One Stone is noted for the Scandinavian design and the lighting as well as for the food. This isn’t style over substance (in fact one thing I loved about Melbourne is there was lots of style and substance). There is a terrific all day breakfast menu and great coffee. I had a great brunch dish of Moroccan beans with labne, and coveted the perfect looking crisp pork belly at the neighbouring table for the entirety of it.
I hadn’t realised until after that Top Paddock is owned by the same people as Two Birds One Stone, nevertheless, they are both essential visits. They are different too. Top Paddock bustles more, even midweek at 8am when I visited. At the weekends, there is such demand that they lay picnic blankets in the park across the road where people wait. The menu is very creative. I had gin and tonic cured ocean trout fillet with beetroot, eggs, goats curds and toast. Excellent coffee again, which really goes without saying for everywhere on this list.
Don’t be put off by the CBD (Central Business District). It may be the heart of all things business in Melbourne but it is also where all the graffiti covered lanes are, as well as many of Melbourne’s best restaurants. The streets are narrow and full of surprises.
Cumulus Inc is one of Melbourne’s most favoured restaurants, owned by popular local chef Andrew McConnell. There is a lovely bright bustling room with an extensive menu offering the likes of terrific house made crumpets with whipped ricotta & rooftop honey and shakshouka. Those were just the ones I tried. (Cumulus Up upstairs is a terrific dinner option too but more on that in a later post).
I visited Melbourne with the #TourMelbourne blog trip, created and managed by iambassador with Tourism Victoria, and Visit Melbourne in partnership with Royal Brunei Airlines. I visited these restaurants in advance of and after the trip in my free time.
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