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The world’s best brunches found in Melbourne

Stephen Clarke

Tue Mar 31 2015


If you’re a fan of brunch, check out these alternative takes on the best brunch options the world has to offer, courtesy of Lonely Planet. Stephen Clarke recommends three brunch ideas.

When breakfast feels like a distant memory and it’s too early to justify lunch, what else is there to do but have brunch?

One of the delights of this new meal time, which has forged its own place in our gastronomic landscape, are the relaxed rules surrounding it. Originally envisioned as a Sunday meal for ‘Saturday night carousers’, brunch has captured imaginations and stomachs alike and where better to experience a wide variety of brunch-time meals than in multicultural Melbourne?

Below you will find three meals perfect for brunch recommended by Lonely Planet’sThe World’s Best Brunches‘, along with a little background information and where to find them in Melbourne.

Nasi Goreng

The exact origins of this world-famous dish aren’t known, but it is believed that it came to Indonesia through traders from South China around the 10th century. These traders brought with them their culture, cuisine and the technique of stir-frying.

The dish has many variations, generally depending on where in the world you are eating it. Indonesian nasi goreng is distinctive in the generous amount of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) that it is cooked with.

Nasi goreng is also a popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the Netherlands. This might seem surprising, but the colonial ties the Dutch once had in South-East Asia have transferred a love for the meal into the national cuisine to the point where almost every family has its own version of the recipe.

Today nasi goreng is popular the world over, and was ranked as number two in a ‘World’s Most Delicious Foods’ poll by CNN International.

Yuni’s Kitchen is an Indonesian restaurant located on the grounds of a church on High St in Northcote. It features an eclectic outdoor eating area and is popular for its authentic Indonesian cuisine. A nasi goreng dish here will set you back about $12, unless you manage to grab a $10 lunch special.

For those not wanting to venture so far afield, Swanston St features a belt of Indonesian restaurants that cater to large crowds of hungry office workers.

Nelayan, with its cafeteria-style ordering, is one of these. Rice with two meals will cost you a mere $8.50.


Chai tea takes us back a little further-5000 years according to some sources. In common folklore it is said that the recipe was created by a king in either India or Siam, who sought to use it as a healing beverage.

For most of its history chai was used for this purpose, up until the English got their hands on it.

Having already formed a tea drinking mania using imported tea from China, it wasn’t long until an Indian Tea Company was formed. Black tea eventually found its way into the recipe and formed the masala chai that we know today.

Due to the high cost of the tea it wasn’t popular among a huge proportion of the nation but in the 1930s the Indian Tea Company began a furious campaign to spread tea drinking throughout India by promoting the idea of the ‘tea break’.

So where do you go in Melbourne to find great chai?

1000 ₤ Bend on Little Lonsdale St makes a very popular chai using Prana Chai-a locally made chai from St Kilda using a recipe perfected over years of testing and four years of travelling around Asia. Their chai is now used in many cafes around Melbourne.

If you happen to be in St Kilda swing by Beavers Tail Social Club, a tiny cafe (with a swordfish on the ceiling) that offers the opportunity to sip chai and watch the world go by.

Spanish Omelette

With a slight change of culture and geographic location, we now settle on the Spanish omelette.

This famous Spanish staple (tortilla de patatas) was first referenced in a court document from Navarre (think Running of the Bulls country) as a recipe used by farmers living in sparse conditions.

The more romantic legend has it that the Spanish general Thomas Zumalacárregui stumbled upon a farmhouse and demanded a meal. The wife of the household only had a few eggs, a potato and an onion, and proceeded to cook the now famous meal. The general enjoyed it so much that he took the idea with him.

This simple robust dish is widely available throughout Spain and its simplicity and three-ingredient recipe make it a great student staple.

Melbourne is a city of breakfast lovers; its rich bounty of cafes in every suburb are evidence of that. Omelettes of every variety are available wherever baristas are pouring coffee.

Try Jungle Juice, a tiny cafe wedged in the middle of the CBD that pumps out a hearty omelette (bacon included).

To learn more about these dishes, and many others from around the world, consult Lonely Planet’s The Worlds Best Brunches book, available at your local bookstore now. The book includes recipes as well so you can cook these brunches yourself!