Food and Drink

The 15 Best Breakfast Spots In Melbourne

Go beyond the smashed avo.

Melbourne is all about breakfast. And if you’re specifically looking for smashed avo, then you can pretty much walk into any cafe in Melbourne. 

But what about beyond the iconic smashed avo? Melbourne specialises in boozy brunches, all-day brekky, house-roasted coffee, vegetable purees—you could say, we got it all. 

We’ve curated a list of breakfast places in Melbourne to suit any mood, location, dress sense and hangover-scale.

Courtesy of Eleventh Commandment

Eleventh Commandment

Collingwood
With a courtyard space as colourful as their latte menu, Eleventh Commandment is a good vibes cafe, that is doggo friendly. The food here is pretty unique, even the acai bowl with peanut butter, coyo (coconut yoghurt), fresh fruit and homemade granola is uniquely yum. The breakfast bao is a favourite, a spicy but fresh number. There are a range of lattes on offer, including turmeric, beetroot, matcha and chai—just in case you’re feeling adventurous.
How to order: Order via Uber Eats, walk-in or call (03) 9044 5963

Courtesy of Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc.

Flinders Lane, CBD
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner service, you can have a cocktail at breakfast or a coffee at dinner or maybe even both. The all-day menu allows you to use the restaurant depending on your mood. Specialising in local Victorian produce at the peak of its season, the food at Cumulus is always fresh and creative. It’s the perfect inner-city brunch spot. 
The food centres around local ingredients with little moments of french influence (especially in the dessert section). The all-day menu changes slightly depending on the day and season, but the plates are always designed to be eaten however you like, at whatever time of day.
How to order: Eat at home via Providoor, book here or call 03 9650 1445

Courtesy of Archie’s

Archie’s All Day

Fitzroy
Archie’s is the boozy brunch place of Fitzroy. “Boozy Brunch” even has its own section of the menu. It’s hip, it’s loud and everyone wears Comme Des Garcon lace-ups and the banter is always flowing. They have $10 negronis on tap, an amazing list of mimosas (mandarin and grapefruit are bomb), a perfectly spicy bloody mary and genuinely cracking cocktail list. Their food goes to all corners of the globe, from Mexican eggs, to cured salmon, to a fried chicken burger. Whether you’re hungry, thirsty, or just after a damn good coffee, Archie’s delivers.
How to order: Book here (but it can sometimes be best just to walk-in), available for takeaway via Mr Yum

Piccante

Fitzroy North
Piccante is a family-owned and run cafe on St George’s Street, just across the road from Piedemonte’s. Although wildly busy, you don’t seem to hear about it much – probably because it doesn’t subscribe to fancy coffee and brunch culture. Nevertheless, it serves up delicious home-style food with chef specials every day, an affordable bevvy list and any coffee/hot drink you could ever desire. It’s a stress-free breakfast spot, which is actually kinda hard to find in Melbourne. It also has a super cute courtyard – great for a hungover graze.   They have all the basics, and then some. Baked eggs with chorizo, a farmer’s breakfast, freshly squeezed juices, mimosas, iced coffees (with ice cream!), spicy bloody mary’s…whatever your morning mood is, they can provide the goods. The green eggs are a must; imagine garlic-y pesto, cheese and scrambled eggs. Yep. 
How to order: Book a table via The Fork, call (03) 9489 7459 or just walk-in!

Sibling

Carlton North
Sibling is a non for profit cafe, with speciality coffee and a seasonal menu, inspired by local producers. With the ethos “eating well, for good”, 100% of their distributable profits are donated to Australian charities, and they deliver weekly food relief to vulnerable Victorians. Not only is their food organically sourced and goddamn delicious, they’re really doing their part to help communities be more socially inclusive. They run an in-house training program that delivers capacity building and community for volunteers from all walks of life. They have an amazing range of sandwiches, homemade baked beans on sourdough, smoothies, pressed juices and GREAT gluten free bread. Oh, and they have bottomless filter coffee. 
How to order: Call (03) 9620 7799 or walk-in

Carolina Facebook

Carolina Cafe

Brunswick
Carolina Cafe is in an original shoemaker’s storefront on Nicholson Street, Brunswick East and is simply an honest, cosy and relaxing place for a breakfast date. The food is healthy, rustic and beautifully presented. They have booze from noon, nice strong coffee, a picturesque courtyard and (usually) an epic Croque Monsieur special. They also have delish chai and hot choc options that are vegan.
How to order: Book here, call 0423 557 442 or walk-in

Kettle Black

South Melbourne
The Kettle Black is part of the Darling Group, known for their picture perfect venues including Higher Ground and Top Paddock. As a group, they thrive in great coffee, unexpected food and beautifully fit-out venues. Although the vibe is relaxed, The Kettle Black is more of a breakfast restaurant than cafe, with its impressive architectural features and experimental menu, so be prepared to be aesthetically overwhelmed… in the best way possible. The food: Gingerbread Waffle? Grilled Barramundi Burger? Bacon Benedict? Yes to all? We thought so.
How to order: Book here, order via Uber Eats

Courtesy of Via Porta

Via Porta

Mont Albert
Via Porta is seriously STUNNING. With all neutral tones and organic textures, Via Porta is a breath of fresh air, clean linen, strong coffee and cured meats. Part eatery, part wine bar, part deli and provedore, you won’t find yourself ever leaving empty-handed. Open every day from 7am – 3pm (except Sundays, closing at 2:30pm), Via Porta brings a little slice of Southern Italy to Mont Albert, the perfect place for an early breakfast, late lunch or stop-in on your way to pick up a coffee and some charcuterie!
Some of our favourite brekky dishes are the french toast doughnut with blood orange compressed peaches, eggs in arrabiata with njuda butter and the porchetta toastie with crushed broccoli and pecorino cheese. 
How to order: You can buy take-home food, produce, freshly baked breads and pastries and groceries here or in-store, and call 03 8256 4866 or walk-in

Kirk’s Wine Bar

Hardware Lane, CBD
The name may  deceive you, but Kirk’s Wine Bar offers an amazing breakfast menu. Operating as an all-day eatery and wine bar, the menu at Kirk’s slightly changes depending on the day of the week and time of the day. Located on the iconic Hardware Lane, sitting out the front genuinely feels like you’re a tourist in Europe.  A daily bruschetta, ham and comte croissants, salmon gravlax and many more delicious bites, along with consistently good coffee and fabulous service. 
How to order: Walk in or call (03) 9600 4550

Roman’s Original

Footscray
Roman’s Original is for all you sandwich lovers. The spicy pork and beef meatball sanga is devourable. The owner, Leigh, makes everything himself, including a luscious selection of dessert pies. I mean, when was the last time you ate a slice of yuzu meringue pie for breakfast? Now’s your chance. Roman’s has great coffee and a limited but delish offering of natty wines, with good hearty sandwiches and homemade, old-style desserts. 
How to order: Walk-ins only

Mixed Business Instagram

Mixed Business

Clifton Hill
Mixed business is found in an unassuming location, an old furniture store on Queens Parade in Clifton Hill. It’s the definition of charming, with a leafy garden and backyard lemon tree, paint-chipped benches, water jugs filled with flowers and old corner-store signs. Their food offering is as wholesome and homey as the decor. Icey granitas, breakfast burgers, hot cakes and porridge are among some of our faves at MB.
How to order: Walk in or call  (03) 9486 1606

Courtesy of THERE

THERE

Footscray
From the beautiful restored wool-factory windows, to the simple comfort food, THERE absolutely delivers on simplistic quality. Despite drinking coffee with a real kick, you’ll feel totally calm at THERE. Serving Seven Seeds coffee and a light-filled industrial palace space, THERE cafe is absolutely beautiful. They focus on local seasonal food and good coffee. Some of our fresh faves are the smoked watermelon salad, the rosti your way and Cypriot grain salad.
How to order: Book here, contact here or just walk on in

Nine Yards

South Melbourne
Nine Yards is inside an old stable, and now a South Melbourne staple! The food is colourful, healthy and Australian focused, with house blended coffee and an array of healthy alternatives like a Bonsoy Tumeric Latte and a hot toddy with lemon myrtle and Kaffir lime. Their food is super vegan, vego and gf friendly too. 
How to order: No bookings, just walk-in or call (03) 86767820

Gingerboy

Crossley Street, CBD
Does it count as brunch if it’s Sunday noon? Totally. And when there’s a set-menu dim sum and bottomless mimosas, who are we to argue? Gingerboy is a Melbourne institution, most commonly known as one of the OG “asian-fusion” restaurants and has been delivering spicy ceviche and lychee martinis since 2006. Now, you can go there for a specific Sunday dim sum and bottomless mimosa brunch. Enough said.  
How to order: Book here

Courtesy of Code Black

Code Black

Various locations
With coffee roasteries inside their cafes, incredible food, and impeccable service, Code Black really just ticks all the boxes. They offer barista training from beginner to advance, as well as latte art classes and general industry advancement. They’re always open to talk to new faces, keen to build upon their coffee family, and share the passion they have with their customers. As well as producing colourful, seasonal and healthy food at their cafes, they also sell a beef coffee rub—which is pretty delicious. With middle eastern influences throughout, the food is hearty and healthy. Expect things like Chickpea fatteh with labneh, fermented chilli, poached egg and spiced burnt butter, and Mouhalabieh (a rose-milk pudding).
How to order: Shop coffee and merch here, find the cafe closest to you and book here

Food and Drink

What We Learned About Fish From Spending An Afternoon With Josh Niland

It’s time to stop putting your fish in water, you’re killing the flavour

fish in coolroom
Photo By Natasha Bazika

“How do you want your fish,” says a fishmonger dressed head to toe in black, to a customer ordering a kilo of Greenback Flounder from Coorong, SA. The customer is unsure of how he wants the fish but asks the fishmonger for advice after telling him what he plans to do with the fish. Immediately the fishmonger knows how to cut the flounder, wraps it in paper, and hands it off to the customer—but not before giving a tip or two on how to cook it. 

“This is how we sell trust and instil confidence,” says Josh Niland who appeared from around the counter, donning his chef whites and a crisp white apron. We’re in Fish Butchery, Niland’s fish shop in Paddington, 20-metres down the road from his two-hatted seafood restaurant, Saint Peter. It’s a humble fish shop that feels luxurious when you walk in. Perhaps, it’s the cased sausages hanging in the front window, or the glass cabinet with one of everything they’re selling that day on display. You won’t find piles of fish or large blue trays of ice with fish lying on top. Everything is in controlled cabinets, including the oysters.

The shop is long and narrow with exposed brick walls, which Niland explains had a previous life as a hair salon. “I never wanted the shop to be uptight, but I did want it to be beautiful, a place you could walk in, order fish and chips, or a piece of fish to cook at home,” says Niland. In the middle of the room, there is a slab of white-marble serving as the backbone. This is where the fish is descaled with what Niland likes to call a ‘beartrap on a stick’. Although some fishmongers wield the beartrap, flinging scales up their arms, others use a knife, slicing the scales in one long strip, resembling snakeskin. 

“The fish here will be used for sushi and sashimi,” Niland explains pointing at the fish being scaled by a knife. “What we’re trying to do here is to get between the scale and the fish, so we can control the texture of the fish and remove moisture from the fish.” 

Removing moisture from the fish is something we don’t see often, but as Niland explains, it is the most important step in preparing the fish. “You know that fishy fish smell you get a waft of walking into a fish market or other fish shop,” Niland asks. I briefly pause to remember smelling nothing when I walked into Fish Butchery, except the faint smell of fries sizzling in the fryer. “Well that’s because moisture gets into the skin, and when that happens water rapidly breaks down into ammonia, resulting in a fishy smell.” It’s another reason Niland often gets lost when a customer asks for a fish that’s not too fishy.

As he explains, fishy fish are only “fishy” because of the way it’s stored and handled. Which explains why the fish scaled with the bear claw are immediately hung, away from moisture. 

descaling fish
Photo By Natasha Bazika

“When the scaler rips up the scale, it leaves an open pocket where the scale used to be. This pocket is quite deep and what usually happens is the fish is washed down then dipped in water. The water sits in that pocket, and after some time creates a fishy smell,” explains Niland. 

This is the core of Niland’s philosophy. Removing moisture from the fish opens up a realm of opportunities that exists beyond the conventional method, according to Niland.

Our next step takes us to the cool room, where rows of gutted fish are hung up on silver hooks as butchers do to meat. They’re not swimming in buckets of ice or water, instead, they are dangling a safe distance from each other, careful not to touch one another. The coolroom is set to an optimal temperature, there is no fan blowing in the room, and only when the fish is ready to be served, then it will be unhooked and dealt with accordingly. 

“Every step from the catching, killing, and preparing is important in achieving flavour,” says Niland who points out a row of garfish in a dry tray. “If you kill a fish properly, there shouldn’t be any lactic acid, which you can tell by the flesh—it looks cooked.” 

So what’s the best way to humanely and effectively kill a fish? According to Niland, brain spike or bleeding the fish keeps the fish from flopping around, building up chemicals that can affect the flavour later on. 

Bringing the attention back to the garfish, Niland explains there are moments when fish tastes better. This tray of Garfish is ready to go, but then Niland points to a hanging coral trout which has until Friday before it’s served on someone’s plate. 

chef showing fish in coolroom
Photo By Natasha Bazika

“This fish arrived today, it’s been scaled and gutted, but it won’t be ready until the end of the week. That’s not the case for all fish though, this tuna I would serve on day 8 or 9,” says Niland. “There’s a point where a fish’s fat is more prominent, which again comes back to removing as much moisture as we can and controlling the handling and environment from day one.”

Niland sources produce from fisherman around Australia and he takes only whatever he can get. 

“I go to the airport to pick up fish once or twice a week from my sources, and I’ll visit the Sydney Fish Market daily to see what they have, but at my shop, I serve whatever I can get my hands on,” explains Niland. “Our customers ask for recommendations so we tell them, King George Whiting is excellent today, and we might offer tips on storing it at home, how to cook it, and if I have a recipe card, I’m more than happy to share.”

As Niland explains it, not everyone knows how to cook a certain fish, and he wants more people to choose an unfamiliar fish, something they haven’t had before or cooked before. The best way to do so is by helping his customers understand the product. “The bottom line is we want people to have a better experience with fish,” says Niland. 

This stays true to his sustainable approach to fishing and his pioneering nose-to-tail eating method for fish. “The global standard is that half goes in the bin, which breaks down to about a 45% fillet yield,” says Niland who remains unaffected after 10-minutes of chatting in the cool room. “For every two fish, we only need one. I use about 95% of the fish.”

We finally leave the coolroom, to approach a small fridge, where fish are being dry-aged, but in a different control to the dry ageing fish in the coolroom. “It’s just another way to experiment with the flavour and natural method of prolonging shelf life,” says Niland. 

“I’m always thinking, how can I articulate the flavour of fish differences between coral trout and snapper.”

cuts of fish
Photo By Natasha Bazika

Niland’s experimentation finds him continually exploring low-temperature storage, probing which fish works best for it, and noting when a fish reaches its sweet spot. More like a mad scientist, Niland is far from a conventional fishmonger, as he dives deep to push boundaries on how seafood is caught, shopped, and cooked whether at home or at Saint Peter. 

One look at his book, The Whole Fish Cookbook, is enough to convince you of his outrageous, funny, and loopy suggestions on what to cook, including coaxing delicious dishes from fish eyeballs. liver and even fish blood. 

If there is anything we can take away from spending an afternoon with Josh Niland, it would be his pioneering penchant for demystifying fish, his care and attention to preparing fish, and his sustainable seafood philosophy, that we hope catches on around the world. 

Niland enjoys the complexity of fish, yet breaks it down for us so that we can enjoy and achieve a perfectly cooked piece of fish at home. His humble approach to seafood is nothing short of inspiring. He wants to change the world, but it’s not going to be easy and you get the sense he knows that, but he continues, one fish at a time, to change how we cook, eat, and look at fish.

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