From a cafe housed within the city’s first telephone exchange to the most talked-about croissants, here’s our guide to Melbourne’s best brunches.
Brunch – it’s that delicious middle ground between breakfast and lunch, and a weekend ritual that has Melburnians under its spell. This sacred meal is a safe space for double parking espressos and mimosas. A place where confit duck and French toast can share centre stage on an all-inclusive menu. And where heritage buildings take on a renewed hue in the dusty, late morning glow. When it comes to the best brunches, Melbourne has it down to a fine latte art.
After the ultimate place to stay while you soak up Melbourne’s culinary genius? Sofitel Melbourne on Collins may be just what you’re after.
If another city could compete with Melbourne in the brunch grand finals, team Paris or Barcelona would be a shoo-in – no coincidence then that Hardware Societe has members on all three. For over a decade, this tasty institution has fed the hungry and hungover and the traffic has yet to die down. The original venue on Hardware Street, next to bustling Melbourne Central and the glamourous voco Hotel, has an understated, industrial interior and lets the food do the talking. Come for thick slices of fluffy Fried Brioche, Twice Baked Soufflé and decadent 54% Belgian hot chocolates – no smashed avo here, madame.
Kettle Black could be mistaken for a private Victorian manor, rebelling against modernity as neighbouring high-rises loom overhead – but the cafe nests seamlessly between both gorgeously contrasting facades. Its menu honours time-tested cravings with unique twists. Sample an indulgent Tiramisu Croffle (croissant/waffle) or sticky Pork Belly Char Siu with thai basil and papaya. Coffee lovers will fall for the espresso martini made with custom Darling Blend beans and, with a stay at nearby WRAP on Southbank, you can drink till you drop.
Higher Ground is an institution that lives up to its powerhouse heritage. Diners sit dwarfed by 15-metre-high ceilings, beneath arched windows and exposed brick – details perfectly offset by gentle greenery and plush hidey-hole booths. Melburnians flock here for refined twists on their usual orders, including Chilli Scrambled Eggs with banana pepper and creamy Spanner Crab Benedict. The exquisitely balanced cocktails include a foamy Guava Martini and a rich Red Velvet number topped with Luxardo cherries. Cocktail connoisseurs can continue into the night at the QT Melbourne hotel’s rooftop bar, where you’ll find picture-perfect sunset views over the city.
Rustica Sourdough’s signature product is so good, you might say founder Brenton Lang was bread for it. The South Yarra location is airy and bright and stockpiled with the fluffiest, most meticulously crafted artisan pastries your eyes ever did see. The brunch selection boasts two choices of French Toast, Maple Butter Croissant or Lemon Curd, and some dishes come with an optional cocktail pairing. While settling the bill, you can watch bakers hustling away in the open kitchen, producing a rich, warm aroma that lingers long after the taste of ciabatta leaves your mouth.
Bustling away beneath the bones of what was Melbourne’s first telephone exchange, this hotspot is adorned with plenty of reminders of its past, from the dangling wires overhead to its name – Operator25. Each of its dishes has a distinct fine-dining flourish and standouts include an open-face Soft Shell Crab Omelette, a Balinese Pork Burger, and Matcha Hotcake. Their coffee menu breaks all Melbourne’s rules with sweet additions like Iced Biscoffee and a grapefruit Coffee Spritzer, made with Code Black beans.
Grain Store is the cottage-inspired oasis where high-speed urbanites come to slow down. The interiors transport you to a quaint farmhouse, with blond-wood trimmings and sliding barn doors. The food is equally fresh – evidenced by the vivid hues that accent each dish – Barramundi Fillet comes nestled atop saffron cous cous and the Pork Belly has an orange sticky chilli caramel accent. If you’re staying at Oaks Melbourne on Market Hotel, then Grain Store is the perfect reprieve from busy days at the aquarium or walks down Flinders Street.
Have you ever pursed your lips as you tasted your first morning espresso and, for a minute, time stopped? Vacation gets that. Coffee lovers appreciate the barista-perfected lattes – brewed with Vacation’s own beans – and delicious grab-and-go fare, including a mouthwatering Chicken Jalapeño Toastie. Three-storey-tall ceilings that let natural light pour through, ‘ode to the 80’s’ pastel decor and fruity concoctions like an Earl Grey Punch make every moment here feel like a well-deserved break. And a palate-cleansing glass of sparkling water when you walk in the door is always on the house.
White Mojo delivers food plated with dramatic flair. Imagine Belgian Waffles doused in candyfloss and a blueberry bramble patch of French Toast featuring a moulded-butter bear at the centre. With garnishes like these, you can expect a feast for the eyes as well as your rumbling Sunday tummy. Expect the same Instagram-worthy theatrics with your drink order, whether it’s dancing art in their signature jet Sesame Black Latte or an electric-green cup of Matcha.
Dreaming of a Sunday in France perhaps? It’s only a croissanterie away. More an art gallery than humble bakery, at Lune Croissanterie you’ll find immaculate pastries set against the buildings’ brooding industrial architecture. Enjoy a perfect croissant or cruffin fresh out of the oven, or snag a seat at the chef’s table where guests are treated to three courses of flakey, buttery perfection paired with bottomless coffee, all inside their temperature-controlled baking sanctuary. For a complete weekend of Eurotrip vibes, choose to stay in little Italy at Zagame’s House, just 10-minutes away.
Melburnians no longer blink at warehouse-to-coffee-house conversions, but Manchester Press is more than just a pretty facade. This bastion of bagel perfection is always bursting at the seams with hungry customers, ordering American-inspired comforts, such as Philly Cheese Steak, egg topped Avo Smash and the NY Lox Bagel. Being quintessentially Melbourne, of course the coffee is gorgeous, rich, and sustainably sourced by Ona’s local roastery. Manchester Press is a perfect introduction to urban brunching for tourists and locals alike.
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