When I found out that I would be traveling to Melbourne, Australia with Visit Victoria, I couldn't be more excited! I knew I would be right at home, as their love for brunch might be more so than even New Yorkers! I wasn't disappointed as there were so many cafes that offered all day brunch every day of the week! I was totally overwhelmed with options, but tried to get to as many brunch spots in as I could while I was there.
Besides everything being insanely delicious, there were a few brunch trends I picked up on; one, they love their colors, and two, they take their coffee seriously! So many dishes were adorned with different colors, from fruit, to cookies, it was like there was a rainbow on every dish. And they love their coffee; every place had a huge list of types of coffees, and they scoffed when I would mention that I usually just grab a coffee from Starbucks. Where I can't go one block in NYC without seeing a Starbucks, over there, almost 80% of the Starbucks have shut down, and there are cute little caffes on every corner.
Here are my top picks for brunch for when you visit this amazing city!
Higher Ground- This was the one spot that everyone I spoke to said I needed to hit up, and it certainly didn't disappoint! Inside of a huge building which was originally a 19th century powerhouse, lies the brunch that felt to be the best representation of Melbourne. I ordered the Ricotta Hotcake with seeds, grains, creme, and fresh fruit, along with their Spiced Cauliflower Scrambled Eggs on a housemade flat bread, and both exceeded expectations! The hot cake was like eating a big fluffy pancake adorned with the entire rainbow, and the cauliflower dish was super unique as it had curry running through the creamy scrambled eggs, and sat on top of a flat bread that tasted almost as if it were a savory donut.
Fourth Chapter- I ventured out of the city to the Melbourne suburb of Prahran to find Fourth Chapter, and what I found was an incredible brunch in a bright and airy space. Like most menus in Melbourne, I was completely overwhelmed with options, but decided to try and get a little taste between their savory and sweet dishes. While I was drooling over their donut waffles, and ham and cheese sandwiches, I ordered the Gaytime Golden Waffle and their Avocado Toast. The waffle was a giant waffle ice cream sandwich with honeycomb, chocolate custard, and vanilla bean ice-cream, which was definitely over the top, but that's what you expect from brunch! The Avocado Toast was the perfect counter balance as it it was super savory with two poached eggs, and a ball of ricotta cheese with black salt. One of my favorite parts of the menu is their "Puppy Breakfast" which offers peanut butter on toast for your four legged friends. Anywhere you can get your fill of an amazing brunch, and have your puppy, is A-Ok with me!
Auction Rooms Cafe- Auction Room is another spot where you can find brunch all day! Much like how diverse the city of Melbourne is, the menu is a mix of Mexican, American, and Middle- Eastern flavors, all using locally sourced Australian ingredients. I ordered the Arepa E’Huevo, Brûlée French Toast, and a side of Grilled Halloumi. The arepa is a Corn Pancake topped with a fried egg, straw mushrooms, baby squash, fried peppers, cream cheese, and walnut salsa which has a really unique bite of savory, sweet, tangy, and a little spicy. And the French Toast comes topped with a passion fruit labné, glazed strawberries, macadamia crumble, and white chocolate ganache. The space is so bright and airy, you could easily sit for hours and get a little work done, read a book, or just chat with your friends.
Lune Croissanterie- While their pastries are featured in restaurants all over the city, I went to Lune's main store in the neighborhood of Fitzroy to try as many of their pastries as I could. This was another spot that came with the highest of recommendations from the locals, and again it didn't disappoint. The cafe is ultra modern with the whole thing being a big concrete block with a glass square in the middle, where they are rolling out all the pastries for the day. I tried to get a little taste of everything and got the regular Croissant, Kouign Amann, Croissants filled with Ham & Gruyere and Mortadella, Aperal Cruffin, and their Banana"twice baked" with banana & coffee frangipane, coffee caramel, and peanut butter. My plan was to just take a bite out of everything, but there was no way to stop at just one little taste. I can see why every restaurant wants these pastries on their menu, everything was so flaky, buttery, and sweet; the perfect pastry! Definitely make sure to get there early to not only avoid the lines, but things sell out quickly! I got there at 9am, and already there were a few pastries that had sold out.
Stagger Lee's- Sometimes you do tons of research to find the perfect brunch, and sometimes you just stumble upon it, and that's what happened with Stagger Lee's. After a morning of walking around the hipster neighborhood of Fitzroy, I came up Stagger's and knew I had to take a seat in their outdoor patio and order some deliciousness. Self described as "simple and sexy comfort food" their menu was full of over the top brunch dishes. I ordered their Stack & Billy Burger, Avocado Toast, The Deep South, and Bucket of Blood (bloody mary). The burger came piled high with double patties, bacon, and a TON of cheese, and a side of bacon croquettes instead of french fries. I also really loved The Deep South, which is a Bourbon Maple French Toast with Salted Toffee Ice Cream; pure decadence!
Gazi- Although they don't have an official brunch menu, Gazi is too good of a restaurant to leave off this list, and they are open during brunch service, so it counts to me! Gazi is a super funky restaurant with a menu full of some of some of the best Greek food I have ever had! I ordered a trio of dips, Dirty Potato Cakes, Snow Crab Souvlaki, Chips (french fries), Chargrilled Broccoli, Saganaki, and Pea Salad. The Dirty Potato Cake is pretty much my dream dish; a giant latke is topped with a fried egg, goat curd, and crispy beef. As simple as it sounds, their Chips which were covered with oregano, garlic oil, and feta cheese, may have been the best french fries I have ever had. They were thick, crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and super salty with the feta cheese covering every bite.
Brunch is as good of a reason as any to check out Melbourne, but there is so much more to see! Check out Melbourne Travel guide to read and see more about my trip! CLICK HERE TO READ