HOW does spending your Saturday mornings with a spoonful of fluffy hotcakes in one hand and a cup of hot coffee in the other sound? Lunnie Gan gives you a good reason to be a morning person again and recommends five amazing cafes in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.
It’s no secret that Melbourne has a reputation for having some of the best cafes ever. Those stunning beacons of breakfast and brunch delights are the only things worth waking up early for.
So, once in a while, get out of the city and explore the inner suburbs for your cafe fix cause some of the best cafes can be found much further afield.
CARLTON: Vertue of the Coffee Drink
8 Raffa Place, Carlton
One might say that only by discovering the secrets within Melbourne’s alleys and finding the most outstanding coffee around town, will you be able to truly know what the city is all about. And if that’s true then The Vertue of the Coffee Drink, located in Carlton, is perhaps the best representation of this philosophy.
Tucked away behind a petrol station just off Lygon St, you may be surprised to find a cosy and well-designed cafe space at the end of the narrow laneway. Impressive coffee roaster? Check. Beaming coffee machine? Check. Tasty coffee with a dozen origins and blends? Triple check!
While the Vertue of the Coffee Drink can rightfully boast about its great coffee, the food there is definitely not an afterthought. The menu is a far call from the usual brunch items (say bye to smashed avocado and eggs benedict!). Instead, their Espresso French Toast coupled with pistachio prailine and dehyrated mandarin is is certainly worth a try and you’ll definitely be stoked to hear that they have crispy pork belly with soft duck eggs!
SOUTH MELBOURNE: The Kettle Black 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne
It’s not everyday that a cafe is more well known for its amazing architecture than its food. Located in a porcelain white Victorian terrace, it’s a big contrast from its glassy and modern neighbours. Adding on some pastel greens, mosaic floors and cut-out screens, The Kettle Black is a must-visit for any interior-loving brunch lover.
Holding the title as the sibling of Top Paddock, The Kettle Black certainly has plenty of buzz since it opened its doors in 2014. It is still living up to its hype, serving its legendary ricotta hotcakes which, yes, are probably the best hotcakes in Melbourne! Despite the thickness of the hotcakes, it’s fluffy all the way around and toppled with maple syrup and a dollop of cream — each bite is heavenly good.
Additionally, the cafe also puts your regular favourites in different directions. Take for example its tataki ocean trout which The Kettle Black ties up nicely with poached eggs as well as its Port Phillip snapper in a brioche roll. Though queues during lunch hours on weekends can be quite crazy, it is a testament to the quality of the space.
So be ready to wait up to 20 – 40 minutes and keep reminding yourself that it’ll all be worth it!
16-20 Leeds St, Footscray
Who could have thought that disused, 40 feet shipping containers in an abandoned car park in Footscray could be refurbished into something sleek and stylish? The folks over at Rudimentary have done just that for their cafe, which also boasts a large kitchen garden and a lawn out front!
Based on an sustainable concept, Rudimentary is built across three shipping containers. Part eatery and part veggie garden, you may even spot the chefs plucking herbs and veggies from their garden! The only downside? You’ll probably be having trouble choosing between braised pork belly with pig’s ear crisps, topped with chilli and fried eggs and a refreshing dish of ocean trout house-cured with a secret spice blend and served with puffs of crème fraîche, pickled cucumber, nashi and brioche.
If you find it hard to make up your mind, it’s alright — you can always go for the no-fuss option. Just grab an eggplant parmigiana & reuben sandwiches and nestle in Rudimentary’s astro-turfed garden with your laptop.
NORTH MELBOURNE: The Auction Rooms 103 – 107 Errol St, North Melbourne
If you’re looking for tram-trip-worthy brunch, this buzzing, rustic-chic cafe with high ceilings and a sunny courtyard is one place worth visiting.
Some people may come for coffee (thanks to their roaster reputation) , but keep a lookout for their menu and you’ll no doubt find something special. If toasted corn tortillas and shredded pork shoulder intrigue you, give their Chilaquiles (chee/lah/KEE/lehs) a whirl.
Back on more conventional ground, the Brulee french toast with passionfruit labne and a dollop of white chocolate ganache will keep your sweet tooth in place. Do take note, even with a couple of stunning competitors just along the street, you may need to join the crowd and wait for a table if you’re here on the weekend.
FITZROY: Industry Beans
Warehouse 3, 62 Rose Street, Fitzroy
On the corner of Fitzroy’s Rose St, this warehouse-cum-cafe boasts excellent coffee, intriguing cuisines and cutting-edge design all under one roof.
Based off the cafe’s name alone, you’ll see immediately that they take their beans seriously. They roast their own beans and serve some of the best coffee in Melbourne — whether you’re a fan of espresso, cold drip or cold brew.
Avocado smash may be a regular menu item at any brunch cafe in Melbourne, but the avo smashes you come across in Industry Beans are truly outstanding! Don’t miss out the Shanklish Cheese Omelette, which boasts caramelised leeks za’atar and crispy kale partnered with the pungent Shanklish, on your list to try too!
In the middle of Fitzroy’s hipness, this cafe with its laid back coolness is definitely one of the best spots to chill with friends.