Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published July 8th 2014
A good cafe can be a latte fun
If there's anything that's distinctively Melbournian it's our tendency to go out for breakfast. It combines our richly deserved coffee elitism, our general bohemian social attitudes, and our love of urban centres. On a practical level, going out for breakfast is a really good idea. Breakfasts tend to be less expensive, less stressful, and harder to get wrong. We've all ordered a thirty-dollar main meal that we had to grit our teeth and slog our way through, but it's much less common to get a really unpleasant poached eggs and latte. Of course, it's still possible: there are places that serve poached eggs with a rock-hard yolk and that burn their milk so badly you can hardly taste the coffee. With that in mind, here's a list of five places around Melbourne that can be relied upon for a pleasant start to your day, starting with...
Mama Bear is a cute little brunch place in Flemington, sitting at 526 Racecourse Road. Like many good cafes in Melbourne, it's a converted warehouse, which explains the high roof and assorted metal tools around the walls.
The coffee is acceptable by Melbourne standards (and excellent by Western suburb standards), and the breakfast options are a good mix of standard and non-standard. If you're interested in something new, the Vietnamese omelette or the chickpea cassoulet are good options - but there's always the feta and smashed avocado or the big breakfast to fall back on.
Green Refectory - or just 'Green' for short - is in Brunswick, on the southern end of Sydney Road. It's a cafe that's chosen to be comfortable rather than cool (although it is cool) and generous rather than gourmet (although the food is very tasty). Green is the perfect place for a huge hungover breakfast: the portion sizes are enormous, the food is reliable and filling, and the prices are very reasonable. 'Reliable' is perhaps the best way to describe this cafe. You wouldn't hold it up as the fanciest food in Melbourne - but you could visit it a thousand times and not be disappointed once.
6 Grams is a brunch spot in Maribyrnong, which immediately makes it an oasis in the middle of a hipster desert. The coffee is reliably good, the owner is friendly, and the decor is surprisingly eclectic for its location. However, it's the food options that make this cafe shine: a brunch menu with an African twist. The Sudanese Foul Madames (spiced eggs) are to die for, as are the spicy Huevos Rancheros, served with fresh-baked piadina.
The Cornershop is a Yarraville institution, and a well-deserved one. It's pleasantly cool: not so cool you'd be ashamed in anything less than full hipster regalia, but cool enough for a first date or a fancy meal. And breakfast is no exception.
The coffee is exceptional - perhaps the best on this list - and the food is delicious. Fans of baked eggs in particular will fall in love with the Cornershop, as both the vegetarian and carnivorous option are always worth trying.
Jackson Dodds is way up north in Preston, and it's an absolute gem. From the warm lighting and cosy wooden tables to the extensive breakfast menu, it's the kind of cafe you keep coming back to - and the coffee is really excellent. Don't even bother with the fancy options on the menu, since Jackson Dodds really shines on the standards. The eggs are always just right, the avocado is always soft and the haloumi is always juicy. It's well worth the $16 pricetag.
Do you know a better suburban brunch spot that deserves more attention? Let us know in the comments. We'd love to hear from you - if only to impress our friends by taking them to amazing places they've never heard of.