Yum! When it’s brunch time in Melbourne, you better be prepared for the onslaught of choice. From green pancakes to hipster salad jars, Melbourne doesn’t scrimp on inventive dishes that will have you questioning everything you thought brunch was and should be. These top tasty cafes for brunch in Melbourne were collected over 2016/17, so if you’re planning a trip down under soon, bookmark these picks and be sure to hit each up as many times as you can on your trip.
Top 10 tasty cafes for brunch in Melbourne
On our recent trip to Melbourne, Alex and I were known as the brunch-hunters. It was our mission to find places that weren’t just delicious, but had super healthy options (we’re not about the waffles and pancakes dripping in golden syrup), a naughty cocktail or three available and a laid-back atmosphere. And it also didn’t hurt if the place was pretty too… so without further ado, here are our top picks for Melbourne brunch spots.
Where: 658 Church St, Richmond
Opening hours: 8am – 4pm
Our favourite dish: Kale & cauliflower salad, almond hummus, seeds, avocado, miso & a poached egg
In the depths of Richmond, Top Paddock serves up a range of breakfast and lunch dishes with carefully thought-out ingredients. Even the basic Benedict is jazzed up with pickled kohlrabi and green chilli pepper. Be sure to head down for an early brunch to skip the weekend queue out the door, or just head down on a weekday where the crowds will be more manageable.
Where: 187 Gertrude St. Fitzroy
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm
Our favourite dish: Smoked mackerel tossed with leaves and pomegranate, on avocado on sourdough toast
De Clieu is known among the locals of Fitzroy and Collingwood as a spot for a great brunch. Expect a relaxed atmosphere, great flavours and a lovely spot to dine in the sun. Grab an outside table if the sun is shining, pat the dogs of the regulars and sip on a green juice if you feel in need of a health injection.
Where: 1 Wynyard St, South Melbourne
Opening hours: 7am (8am on weekends) – 4pm
Our favourite dish: the seasonal salad bowls
Hidden down a little laneway in South Melbourne, many workers head there for a nutritious lunch break and an iced caffeine injection. The salad bowls are stocked full of freshness from their top veggies of the week. Simple and minimal in design, with whitewashed brick walls, be sure to take your time then head next door to the gorgeous ceramics shop, Made in Japan, for a bit of retail therapy.
Where: 172 Oxford Street, Collingwood
Opening hours: 7am (8am on weekends) – 4pm
Our favourite dish: sautéed mushrooms, soft parmesan pudding, poached eggs and cress on sourdough
An institution of the backstreets of Collingwood, this coffee roastery has now expanded to a few more venues in Melbourne, and now Portland! Bustling and full of natural light, it’s a place that you can depend on for a great brunching experience. Salads, hearty eggy dishes and thick smoothies will heal any damage from the night before.
Where: 617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
Opening hours: 7am – 4pm (weekdays), 8am – 5pm (Saturday), 9am – 5pm (Sunday)
Our favourite dish: poached eggs on toast with sides of house smoked salmon and avocado with shies and miso & sesame dressing
A little favourite of mine… ok, i’m slightly biased as I worked there for its opening 6 months (2012), but when I returned, the food was just as good… if not better? The menu had changed to allow patrons to pick a variety of tasty sides to accompany classic eggs. The house smoked salmon was thick and tasty, and the additions to the avocado were super tasty. Glad to see/hear that they’re still spinning vinyls for your brunch soundtrack.
Where: 380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm (10:30pm on Friday and Saturday)
Our favourite dish: Original Stir-fry with Satay or the Buddha Bowl
Vegie Bar is a huge monster of a vegetarian dream. Squatting on Brunswick Street, this mammoth warehouse is full of vegetarian dishes, vegan options and heaps of gluten free goodies. Not to mention their raw desserts are divine! I was surprised to see little had changed on their menus after four years when I was a local, but it still is a guarantee for a healthy brunch, lunch or dinner. Alex loved it so much, she made me go back there three times… no complaints here though!
Where: 11 – 13 Johnston St, Collingwood
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon & Tues), 8am – 10pm (Wed), 8am – 11pm (Thurs – Sat), 9am – 11pm (Sunday)
Our favourite dish: the green pancakes topped with Crab Louie salad, avocado and poached egg
It was my last day in Melbourne, and a few friends were wanting to take me out for my last brunch. A sad affair, especially as so many cafes had queues out the door… but we hit up Bedford St – a place that had never beeped on my radar!
I was recommended the green pancakes, and OMFG, get onto it. Broccoli, peas, snow peas, spring onion, green chilli and spinach were chopped up and mixed into the pancake mix, turning it green and bursting with delicious health! Get some snaps of the interiors while you wait for your food – think american diner meets chic industrial.
Where: 385 Victoria St, Abbotsford
Opening hours: 7:30am (8am on weekends) – 3:30pm
Our favourite dish: “This One” – Roast Kumara with Kimchi slaw, cashew cream, herbs and poached eggs.
This place had been on my radar ever since I left Melbourne. I’ve been following them on instagram for years and it was top of my hit-list for my return. Small yet perfectly furnished, grab a seat and get stuck into their menu-zine.
I came here twice. And I ate the same dish twice. And I had the same side of mushrooms with kale. Damn good, but there were some inconsistencies in how it was cooked each time I went. But hey, it still didn’t disappoint.
2. SOS Cafe:
Where: 5/177 Toorak Rd, South Yarra
Opening hours: 7am – 3pm, 7:30am – 3pm (Saturday), 8am – 2pm (Sunday)
Our favourite dish: Tiramisu Pancakes, topped with cacao nibs, caffeinated mousse and edible flowers, with an espresso shot served on the side.
So don’t click on their website at the moment, because something weird is going down with it, but do check out their instagram! Their menu just made me so happy – I shared a ‘Hipster Jar’ (a falafel superfood salad – seal and shake the jar to mix the dressing), and the gluten free Tiramisu Pancakes which was a delightfully (kind of) naughty brunch dessert. Also, the thick shakes are the best I’ve tasted – slurp down the almond milk coffee shake with coconut protein.
Where: 46 Oxford St, Collingwood
Opening hours: 7:30am – 5pm
Our favourite dish: Crushed peas w ricotta, prosciutto, roasted tomatoes and poached eggs on toast. With a few $5 mimosas.
South of Johnston is definitely top of our picks for Melbourne brunches. I popped in a few times to eat and a few more times to enjoy a Campari out on their sunny deck. From the sweetcorn and zucchini fritters to crushed peas with prosciutto, their meals are hearty and incredibly healthy. It’s egg heaven and they also have $5 mimosas which go down too well when the sun’s shining.
Although the majority of cafes on our list use locally sourced products, South of Johnston seek out ethically produced ingredients and have installed 40 solar panels on their roof to power 60% of the cafes’ electricity. A pretty, green cafe with a conscience.
Take note of our top Melbourne brunch cafes for 2016/17 and get stick into these delicious dishes! Bookmark this post or pin the below image so you can enjoy a bit of foodporn as you wait for your trip to the yummiest options the Down Under has to offer.
All photographs by Sophie Saint