BREKKIE IN MELBOURNE ANYONE?

Melbourne is Australia’s cafe and restaurant wonderland, full of great places to meet and eat, and there is no way any finite list could possibly encompass all the “beaut” options awaiting the avid foodie… so I’m not even going to try to make a broad list of my favourite joints. What I’m going to do is direct you to the places where you might have some of the most memorable breakfasts you’ve ever experienced. For those looking for something both exquisite and tasty, you can’t go past the following:

BATCH ESPRESSO

Jason, the owner/main barista knows his stuff. He has various baristing and cocktail awards. They serve Supreme Coffee and it is always good. They take the whole process very seriously – right beans, right grind, right extraction. I have never had a bad coffee from Batch and have been going there for 4 years.

Always packed on the weekend, but do yourself a favour and wait for a table to become available.

The food is unpretentious, interesting and really good. You can get toast with soldiers to remind you of your childhood, or a hearty potato hash with cornichons and a poached egg (I’d recommend an extra egg). Also seasonally adjusted fruit dishes and the usuals.

Atmosphere is kiwiana kitch meets Fitzroy cool.

Service is fast and friendly. Become a local and they’ll look after you like family.

Batch have also recently begun dinner on Friday nights – amazing food and from memory, all mains under $20.

 Batch Espresso | 320 Carlisle Street in Balaclava 

DUKES COFFEE ROASTERS

This place is one of my favourite coffee places and boasts many regulars. The coffee is fantastic, and the croissants are always fresh and tasty, especially the chocolate croissant and the almond croissant.

If you really crave a sweet brekkie, like a big stack of pancakes, but can’t quite bring yourself to throw all caution to the wind, why not sneak the sugar in stealthily? Dukes Coffee Roasters on Windsor’s Chapel Street do some of Melbourne’s best breakfasts, including a seemingly healthy avo and toast with poached eggs and humus, with the crafty addition of candied bacon a delicious and wicked twist.

 Dukes Coffee Roasters | 169 Chapel Street in Windsor

TOP PADDOCK

There’s something about fish for breakfast that makes us feel super-fresh and good to go. Richmond’s Top Paddock, a vast but strangely cosy industrial space on Church Street, does a scrumptious white anchovies on toast with Jamon Serrano, padron peppers and Manchego cheese, which perfectly balances the sweet with the salty.  And if fish isn’t to your taste, check out the blueberry and ricotta hotcakes – (Only $18) with berries, organic maple, seeds and double cream. A must-have, signature dish.

Top Paddock | 658 Church Street in Richmond

CHERRY & TWIGS

Granola is another sure-fire bet for keeping the hunger bug at bay until a civilised lunchtime without multiple mid-morning snacks, but it can be a little dull. Not so at Cherry & Twigs, in a little laneway just off Flinders Lane (so Melbourne) in the CBD. This super-cute spot serves up an incredible feed dubbed the breakfast pudding, blending granola with avocado (yep, you read that right), Melbourne City Rooftop Honey and fresh fruity goodness.

Cherry & Twigs | Shop 1B, 555 Flinders Lane in Melbourne

LOLO AND WREN

If breakfast sometimes seems like a major pig genocide in progress, why not dodge the bacon sides with the awesomely light and crispy corn and zucchini fritters at Lolo and Wren in West Brunswick? They come loaded with peperonata, Meredith Dairy goats cheese, avo and Chilean salsa. We want former Richmond Hill Larder chef Franco Caruso’s secret recipe.

Lolo and Wren | 484 Albion Street in Brunswick West

SOUTH OF JOHNSTON

While we’re on a vego kick, Collingwood stalwart South of Johnston does a magnificent plate of field mushrooms served up with juicy cubes of beetroot and silky fetta on a hearty bed of sourdough that will fire up the engines for sure. The menu is extravangently flexible – granola with fresh or poached fruit and vanilla-bean yoghurt; tender chargrilled lamb on cous cous with feta, pine nuts and tahini; or a triple-stack of pancakes with organic bacon (if you wish), berry compote, flaked almonds, Jock’s ice-cream on the side, and a bottle of real maple syrup left on the table.

‘There are egg breakfasts: scrambled and folded with goats’ cheese and truffle oil; fried eggs and kaiserfleisch; or soft-poached and saucy with sugo, black olives and spicy chorizo.

The menu’s not startling and owner McKenzie says it’s not trying to ”reinvent the wheel” but it’s across-the-board good and timely. On a packed Sunday, meals arrive with pace and all together. It’s these basics that many places struggle to get right but seem second nature at this highly organised cafe.

South of Johnston | 46 Oxford Street in Collingwood

HAMMER & TONG 412

Tucked in behind 412 Brunswick Street, Hammer & Tong is a stylishly simple and bright space that plates up sterling feeds all day long, but we’re big fans of the heart-starting breakfast ramen, with bacon and egg swimming in bacon dashi with oyster mushrooms and spring onions.

Hammer & Tong 412 | Rear 412 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy

ZAATAR

Run by the sons of A1 Bakery’s Chafic Choueiri, Coburg’s Zaatar on Sydney Road offers one of the biggest and best breakfasts for the smallest budget, with their Big Breakfast coming in at a meagre $12.50. Doling out moreish slices of soujok with baked eggs, labneh, mint, olives, tomato and cucumber with a heap of Lebanese flat bread – it’s a steal.

Zaatar | 365 Sydney Road in Coburg

DUCHESS OF SPOTSWOOD

And finally, if you’re in the mood for something a little decadent, Duchess of Spotswood’s Duchess of Pork serves up a slab of crispy pig’s jowls with truffle sauce and fried eggs heaped on sourdough. Yummo.

Duchess of Spotswood | 87 Hudsons Road in Spotswood

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About stonekingseminars

Poet, screenwriter, producer, mentor
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