Mr Mister Cafe 161 Chapel Street, Windsor, Melbourne Contact: 03 9529 3902 Mr Mister is open on the busy Chapel street strip. Their courtyard is a delight, a secluded place to bask in the morning sun and recharge.
Punchbowl Canteen 1 Fennell Street, Port Melbourne, Melbourne Contact: 03 8534 9957 In the midst of the slightly industrial and commercial side of Port Melbourne is Punchbowl Canteen. The heavy brickwork and large continuous windows give away it’s factory origins, which gives the inside a light airiness. The menu is genuinely interesting, with plenty for breakfast and brunch, as you’d expect plus a fuller lunch menu than most. We sampled a great selection of them, perched as a veritable bevy of exotica stopped by the corner: A Lamborghini Aventador, A Ferrari 246 Dino, A Lotus Europa and a Porsche 911 Carrera S convertible (991).
Juno and May 662 Burke Road, Camberwell, Melbourne Contact: 03 8840 8006 Juno and May have transformed a large complex space into a series of areas with different textures. The bright light, light stained wood brunch front leads to the luxurious dark back area, with a great high function area above. We dropped in at night to taste their asian inspired dinner menu
Street Talk Espresso Location: 710 High Street, Armadale, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9509 9687 Dean Fourtzis has created a warm and inviting cafe with a simple ethos of quality coffee, excellent food and personable service. Hiding away from the main High Street drag in Armadale, the intimate venue focuses on delicious meals and snacks, often with Greek and Middle Eastern influences. Coffee is a focus here, with Dean roasting his own coffee for service in house. The 5th avenue house blend is available exclusively at Street Talk, while other batches are available for wholesale.
East Ivy Location: 6 Burton Crescent, Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Melbourne Contact: 03 9499 8186 One of the East’s best cafes is (in, mind you, true Melbournian style) hiding in a street off a main road in a non-descript building in Ivanhoe. For those in the know, the cafe, East Ivy, brings all the finesse of its sister restaurant Lux Foundry to the fore, and then some. The all day menu is accessible as ever, aiming for broad appeal with a blend of Melbournian brekkie staples as well as a few unique touches. Coffee is by Proud Mary, teas by Larsen & Thompson (yes please), and the food is reliably good. All of the things one would expect from a crew who clearly know the brunch game back to front.
Meatball and Wine Bar Location: 135 Flinders Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9654 7545 Most of you would be familiar with the Meatball and Wine Bar. Melbourne’s first artisan meatball restaurant, which launched in the CBD and has now expanded to three outlets across Melbourne, has quickly become renowned for its highly customisable meatball offering, which includes balls of the beef, chicken, pork, fish and vegetable varieties. Once you’ve picked your balls, ordering is a simple affair – add a hearty, creamy or light sauce and something for your balls to sit on (who can go past a good ol’ mash?) and voila, you’ve got yourself one lip-smacking meal.
Le Petit Prince Location: 1a Mercer Road, Armadale Victoria Contact: 03 9824 6404
Dex2Rose Location: 377-379 Little Bourke St, Melbourne CBD 3000 Contact: (03) 9078 0784 A cool change has hit Melbourne’s CBD, and kids, this time it’s a welcome one. Gelato doesn’t get much better than frozen at Dex2Rose (a wordplay on “dextrose”, the dextrorotatory form of glucose), where the friendly team whips up cheekily-named, innovative flavours (from ‘pinoy colada’ to ‘not your granny’s apple pie’) to order. White clinical walls are pitted against select splashes of colour and plush chairs inside. At the front bench, clouds of liquid nitrogen spill from KitchenAid mixers as the gelato is made before your very eyes. It’s a chem nerd’s dream, and a sweettooth’s secret escape.
Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters Location: 113 Hardware Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8529 0284 This homage to the ubiquitous hashtag has well and truly taken the humble hot chocolate to the next level. Steps away from Melbourne institution The Hardware Societe, Hash Specialty Coffee and Roasters is quickly becoming just as difficult to secure a table at during brunch hours, whether it’s for those beaker-laden, fairy-floss-accompanied, Mork hot chocolates or their playful, modern take on the usual brunch options, all executed with the level of service and sophistication that Melbourne food enthusiasts have come to expect from their cafe experience.
Lt Nic Location: 262 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9044 6985 Situated off one of the busiest intersections in Melbourne’s central business district, Lt. Nic is perfectly poised to cater for those city goers who are hard-pressed for time. The small cafe churns out wonderful, consistent coffee, to the tune of new bean entrant Rumble Coffee Roasters. There are a range of cakes, brownies and other sweets on offer (hello peanut butter Butter Bing), as well as wholesome salads and gourmet sandwiches (such as a seven-hour braised-beef brisket ‘Not so Reuben’) for those looking for something a little more substantial.
Little Rogue Location: 12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 0433 739 148 Open that bright blue door off Drewery Lane and you’ll fine a quirkily-adorned cafe called Little Rogue. The relatively new establishment, which serves up a house blend of Small Batch’s Candyman beans, also stocks one of our favourite cookies out – Butter Bing’s cookies sandwiches, which come in a range of delectable flavours (how could you say no to a nutella and peanut butter-filled chocolate cookie sandwich?), Kwak Scrolls in all delicious forms, and Mille and B’s popular crepe cakes.
Waffee Location: Shop1 77 Swanston St Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9041 4594 There’s a lovely simplicity to Waffee. The little shop, situated in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, has a concise offering of one thing we can’t live without (coffee) and another thing that we indulge in way too often (waffles). The limited menu has allowed Waffee to refine its offering, with the shop serving a basic waffle recipe that was brought back by its founders from Belgium (also known as waffleland) with a few enticing variations. Waffles are served warm and come in milk and white glazed, chocolate stick and fruity forms.
The Green is hidden through an arched door on the grounds of the St Columb’s Church. The high ceilings and warm tungsten light have a light and airy vibe with the cafe never feeling overcrowded. Anushka Chai Latte $4.5 Served in a hearty mug with honey on the side to add your sweetness to taste, this was the perfect drink for a Melbourne winter’s day.
I am constantly astounded by the quality and diversity of food that is offered in Melbourne. Having recently returned from travelling and working overseas (where I had the pleasure of dining at quite a few Michelin-starred restaurants), I can comfortably say that Melbourne offers some of the best restaurants and cafes in the world, which, believe it or not, I much preferred over their Michelin-starred counterparts. This past month I have been very ‘busy’ re-acquainting my palette with Melbourne food. Here are a few favourites that I’d happily eat at (over and over) again: Hinoki Japanese Pantry Location: 279 Smith Street, Fitzroy, VIC 0065 Contact: 03 9417 4531 Fonda Mexican Location: 248 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9429 0085 Jinda Thai Location: 7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067 Contact: 03 9419 5899
Nestled snug next to a Land Rover mechanic and an artisan wood-crafter, down a quiet laneway is Lygon’s latest Cafe. The brainchild and dream of Mike Cracknell, a man who just about bleeds espresso, Vertue is a welcome sanctuary for the pursuers of fine bean and nosh.
Mr Hendricks Location: 469 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn, VIC 3103 Contact: (03) 9830-7579 Mr Hendricks has always had a soft spot in my books, and remains one of my favourite places to brunch in Melbourne – the fit out is divine (make sure you take a seat outdoors in the lovely decked courtyard out back), crisp and polished, and the brunch menu never fails to surprise. The coconut and tapioca pudding, topped with sticky pineapple, almonds and sultanas, was incredible – warm and comforting, it was rich yet delicate at the same time, and packed with such a smooth mix of flavours. As I was saying – divine!
Market Lane Coffee Location: 163 Commercial Rd South Yarra, VIC 3141 Contact: 03 9804 7434 The low down: a minimalist institution, Market Lane Coffee is tucked away at the back of the gorgeous Prahan Market. Locals can head down for a quick fix or to the giant’s other shop, located within Victoria Market. Long blacks are divine, lattes spot on. Always delivers. Hinoki Japanese Pantry Location: 279 Smith Street Fitzroy, VIC 03065 Contact: 03 9417 4531 Fantastic value, top notch quality sushi, and a Japanese grocery all bundled into one. We’re absolutely in love with this place – for $45 the nigiri platter is enough to satisfy two or three hungry bellies.
Here’s to a quick wrap-up of our team’s recent favourites. Smith St Alimentari Location: 302 Smith St, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Contact: 03 9416 1666 Housed in the former residence of Gorski & Jones, Smith St Alimentari is a cross between a local deli and bustling cafe. Whip up your own with the quality ingredients on display, take home one of the impressive pre-made meals (the quiches and lasagnes look sublime), or laze around in the beautiful cafe / restaurant space for breakfast or lunch. The egg white omelette is one of the better brunches we’ve had to date – packed with protein, dukkah, feta and pockets of smoked salmon. It’s a must order.
Providence Location: 497 Rathdowne St, Carlton, VIC 3053 Contact: 03 9240 7055 A few weeks ago we attended the launch of a rather endearing cafe in Carlton called Providence, which involved an intimate sit-down breakfast with Head Chef Cate Hardman. Cate and the team behind Providence cafe show a deep passion for featuring seasonal ingredients and celebrating produce from Victoria’s farmers markets, with ingredients sourced locally from Carlton’s Farmers’ Markets just around the corner. Throughout the entire event we had the pleasure of hearing from producers from Gamze Bacon and Smallgoods, Gundowring Ice-cream and Cocktaoo Grove Olive Oil – producers whose products make a prominent feature on the Providence menu. It was inspiring to hear about each producers’ craft and why they love what they do.
Tivoli Road Bakery Location: 3 Tivoli Rd, South Yarra, VIC 3141 Contact: 03 9041 4345 In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen our Instagram feed virtually consumed by photos of donuts (not that we’re complaining), so it seemed only fitting to add Tivoli ones to the mix. And if the word ‘donut’ isn’t enough to convince you how good these actually are, then these photos probably speak for themselves. We’ve only tried the lemon curd so far (pictured) but we’re keen to make a trip over to South Yarra for the salted caramel and roche varieties, as well as their pastries, which look spectacular.
Market Lane Bar Location: InterContinental Melbourne, The Rialto, 495 Collins Street Melbourne 3000 Contact: 03 8627 1400 We recently had the pleasure of celebrating International Coffee Day with Intercontinental Melbourne at The Rialto. The event took place at Intercontinental’s suave Market Lane Bar, with two expert mixologists providing a wonderful step-by-step demonstration of how to master the art of Stefano Manfredi’s signature coffee Espresso di Manfredi. I have to say, E and I had a wonderful time at Intercontinental Melbourne. The mixologists at Market Lane Bar made the cocktail-making process incredibly simple to follow, and we were fortunate enough to learn how to make two gorgeous cocktails (one using the traditional method, and the second with the addition of Intercontinental Melbourne’s spectacular honey, which comes onsite from hives located on the top of the building!).