Australia being so isolated from the rest of the ‘Angmoh world’, you would never expect it to have such a strong and mature cafe culture. One thing I love about Melbourne cafes is how simple it is – from its interior, to its menu, and even the coffee. It never fails to amaze me how effortlessly baristas and chefs here are able to bring out so much flavour and texture from the simplest of things.
When it comes to judging cafes, ambience is just as important a criterion as taste and quality. Well, I’m sure we’ve all fault Singapore cafes for being “step” (i.e pretentious or wannabe for the older folk) before, so you guys know exactly what I’m talking about.
Nothing ever feels out of place in Aussie cafes though– or maybe I’m just too busy devouring the delicious food to mind.
15. Breakfast thieves
The menu may seem rather limited at first but you’ll be surprised at how innovative all the dishes are! The interesting names of the dishes certainly got me hooked on finding out more. To all the vegans and vegetarians out there, fret not for this menu has a good selection of vegetarian dishes.
Go for The Breakfast Chain (pictured above; consists of yogurt with granola, soft-boiled eggs as well as an almond crumble) if you’re indecisive. If you’re really hungry and all ready for a hearty meal, then the Uncle Foo’s Fiery Crab Burger and Señor Botak Chin are must-gets! Or you could always go for the good ol’ eggs on toast which I heard is awesome as well.
Address: 1/420 Gore St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9416 4884
Opening hours: 7:30am – 4pm on weekdays, 8am – 4pm on weekends
14. Hammer and Tong
The Aussies sure went for it hammer and thong (ha ha) because the dishes are simply delicious. This is definitely a good alternative to the jam-packed cafes in town. That said, Hammer and Tong is still a popular cafe and H&T sure did live up to the high expectations all the positive reviews set for them.
The ramen is a mainstay on the menu and this warm bowl of goodness added a nice asian touch to the otherwise typical cafe menu. The ox cheek benedict as well as the waffles (both savoury and sweet) are popular choices here at H&T. Other items include lamb ribs, omelettes and baby snappers; you’ll surely find something on the menu that satisfies your craving.
Address:412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia | Tel:+61 3 9041 6033
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm on all days
13. Patricia Coffee Brewers
Looking for a good cup of coffee to start off a long day head? Well look no further. Nestled in a little corner somewhere in the CBD, you can always count on Patricia Coffee Brewers to serve an awesome cup. Known for its consistency, this quaint little space is a must-visit if you’re a coffee fanatic.
Grab a small tasty pastry to go along with your warm coffee and you’re good to go. Tucked away at the end of an alleyway, you’ll have to stand around as you sip on your coffee but this also means that you can mingle around with other coffee fanatics and maybe even hold a conversation or two.
Address: Little Bourke St & Little William St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm on weekdays, closed on weekends
12. Top Paddock
Dubbed one of the best, count yourself lucky if you manage to get a seat less than 15 minutes after arriving. Top Paddock is always bustling, but the food here sure explains why.
The soft shell mud crab bun has got to be one of the most popular dishes here and it certainly is among one of the best around! The light and crispy soft shell crab is spiced up with a good amount of herbs and topped with a soft bun to satisfy all palates.
Opt for the popular ricotta hotcake if you have a sweet tooth. This dense chunk of goodness will surely leave you with a full tummy.
If you just want a nibble, then I highly recommend the coconut chia pudding. Top Paddock also serves alcohol if you want something to spice up your meal!
11. Hardware Societe
Melbourne is filled with world-class cafes but ones with a queue like the one seen outside The Hardware Societé is hard to find. Unfortunately this place does not accept bookings so you’ll have to try your luck. But the wait will definitely be worth it – however long it may be – for the food will most certainly not disappoint.
All 3 baked eggs (un, deux, trois) are extremely popular choices and will surely surpass your expectations. The interesting mix of ingredients will only tingle at your tastebuds and leave you craving for more. What is brunch without some coffee right? Well you can definitely count on Hardware Societé to serve a good cup of coffee.
Hardware Societé, being an iconic Melbourne cafe, definitely lives up to its name of being one of the best in town.
Address: 120 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | Tel:+61 3 9078 5992
Opening hours: 7:30am – 3pm on weekdays, 8am – 3pm on weekends
10. Cafe Lafayette
Head over to Café Lafayette for brunch with a view! With its window seats overlooking the sea, this is definitely a brunch experience like no other. Check out the menu for affordable bites and spend a relaxing morning people-watching over great coffee.
The matcha hotcakes are perfect for people with a sweet tooth, or you could grab the scrambled eggs for a simple but yummy brunch. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you’ve got to get a freak milkshake.
Cafe Lafayette also has a range of Asian dishes, so be sure to try their dim sum if you’re craving for Chinese. After filling your tummy, you can head over to the beach to chill or catch the sunset!
Address: 55 Beach St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia | Tel: +61 421 930 564
Opening hours: 7:30am – 3:30pm on weekdays, 8am – 4pm on weekends
9. Pardon Coffee
This quaint little space definitely serves a good cup of coffee! This tiny café seats less than 10 so you can enjoy a quiet morning as you sip on your coffee! Grab some sweet treats from the counter for something to nibble on.
Go for the donuts if you’re feeling lazy, or the croissants if you fancy something savoury. The gluten-free cookies are a great choice too. Pardon Coffee is known for serving consistently good coffee and they sure didn’t disappoint!
Address: Shop 4, 155 Greville St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm on all days *closed on Mondays
8. Proud Mary Coffee
This is a must go if you are a fan of filter coffee! I got mine in the El Salvador ‘La Guachoca’ blend as well as an Apricot & Fig toast to go with it. Coffee was unique with a citrusy finish and the toast was delicious! Every inch of it was covered in raisins, or apricots, if not figs and the mild citrus mascarpone served alongside it really helped tone down the rich flavors.
Located near Fitzroy garden, you can take a nice morning walk through the quiet garden into the city while sipping on the light-bodied coffee.
Address: 172 Oxford St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9417 5930
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm on weekdays, 8am – 4pm on weekends
6. Sensory Lab Specialty Coffee
Smacked in the heart of the city, this is a great place if you want to take a break from a full day of shopping. I also had a very interesting chocolate bar (vegan and gluten-free) to go along with my coffee and it was yummy.
It was so packed with all sorts of things it almost didn’t taste like a chocolate bar. My first bite had chunks of dried coconut, the second was filled with crunchy nuts, and the next had some crisps in them, maybe even granola – it was all things crunchy.
This is also another one of those go-to coffee places known for its consistency.
Address: 297 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9645 0065
Opening hours: 7:30am – 7pm from Mondays to Wednesdays, 7:30am – 9pm on Thursdays & Fridays, 8:30am – 7pm on Saturdays, 9:30am – 7pm on Sundays
5. 7 Seeds Specialty Coffee
Located just 5 minutes walk away from Queen Victoria Market, 7 Seeds is the perfect place to stop by for your daily caffeine fix before heading over to the market or a much needed afternoon fuel before a night in the night market. Got my usual flat white and it was simple but awesome.
Opt for a simple spiced fruit toast at 8AUD to go with your daily cuppa. A chic blue exterior in the middle of a rather dull street, you certainly don’t have to worry about not being able to find this cafe.
Address: 106-114 Berkeley St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9347 8664
Opening hours: 7am – 5pm on all days, 8am – 5pm on Sundays
4. Dead Man Espresso
Dead Man’s long black is much lower in acidity, unlike the usual Melbourne black coffee. If you’re someone who constantly switches between a long black and a flat white, then you might really like this one. The espresso dominates the flavor without being too overpowering, definitely my favourite place for coffee.
Got scrambled eggs to go along with the coffee and that was delicious as well. This cafe is also located right ‘round the corner of South Melbourne Market.
Address: 35 Market St, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9696 3912
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm on weekdays, 8am – 4pm on weekends
Popped by at lunch time and 8bit was packed. The line to order snaked out of the eatery and it was another 15 minutes wait before I finally got myself a seat. Had the Fatal Fury Hotdog which I dare say is the most interesting (and delicious) hotdog I’ve had in my life.
The rather harmless looking jalapeños-packed hotdog was hidden under a generous portion of chilli beef and this bomb of a combo was paired with cheese sauce on a fluffy bun. Man, it had me at first bite. Definitely explains the queue.
The burgers seemed like a more popular choice though. Since most of the cafes close before dinner time, you could choose to grab dinner – or even supper – here.
Address: 231 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9687 8838
Opening hours: 11am – 11pm on all days
2. Brown Bagels
Brown bagels is tucked away in abusy alleyway and unlike the lunchtime rush going on in the neighboring cafes, it was quiet and almost empty. Regardless, I got myself a spicy chicken bagel anyway. The bagel featured a plain bagel lightly tossed in poppy seeds, topped with mozarella coated spicy chicken and gherkin.
The chicken was marinated Korean style and it was simply heavenly.
This hidden gem could really give Manchester Press a run for their money! This one is a MUST GO if you ever head to Melbourne! Plonked right in the middle of the main shopping lanes, it is definitely a go to lunch spot.
p.s I had such a hard time deciding if brown bagels or manchester press should be given the title of “best café in Melbourne” and Manchester Press won by the tiniest of margin.
Address: 330 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9670 9114
Opening hours: 7:30am – 4pm on weekdays, closed on weekends
1. Manchester Press
Just around the corner from Brother Baba Budan and right in the heart of the city, you’ll find Manchester Press, a cafe you CANNOT miss if you are in Melbourne. Flanked by colourful graffiti streets, MP is hard to miss. The bagels are out of this world I am not kidding.
I settled for Mel’s Maple Mayhem. So it sounds rather simple – toasted blueberry bagel topped with bananas and bacon and a huge wad of mascarpone drowned in thick maple syrup – but DON’T BE FOOLED because it really is going to be the BEST BAGEL you’ll ever have in your life.
Unlike the blueberry stuffed bagels that we normally get, this entire bagel is blueberry flavored and you can smell the blueberries from miles away.
It was toasted to PERFECTION. The edges light and crispy while the middle was left fluffy and airy, the generous serving of bacon had almost no fat, the chunk of mascarpone helped balance the sweet maple syrup, basically it was perfect.
If you want something savory, I was told that the Avo & Feta Smash is a popular one (be sure to add chorizos), and if you’re really hungry, go for one of the closed bagels. Be sure to come early because the queue starts 30mins before opening.
Address: 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | Tel: +61 3 9600 4054
Opening hours: 7am – 5pm on weekdays, 9am – 5pm on weekends
Related Guide: Best Cafes in Singapore for Brunch
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