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FOOD & DRINK

Eight New Brunch Spots to Try in Melbourne

Brunch: that glimmering portal of a weekend moment when waiters don't bat an eyelid at your weird, weird mid-morning requests.
By Shannon Connellan
March 05, 2015
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Eight New Brunch Spots to Try in Melbourne

Brunch: that glimmering portal of a weekend moment when waiters don't bat an eyelid at your weird, weird mid-morning requests.
By Shannon Connellan
March 05, 2015
  shares

EIGHT NEW BRUNCH SPOTS TO TRY IN MELBOURNE

Brunch: that glimmering portal of a weekend moment when waiters don't bat an eyelid at your weird, weird mid-morning requests.

Melburnians are a particularly picky bunch when it comes to our brunching spots. We jump on new spots, praise old favourites and condemn any naive newcomers to the artform. So here's eight newish spots you might have yet to try, open in the last few months and serving up some seriously tasty brunches — from shrimp and corn grits to jalapeno cornbread, chia pudding topped with pomegranate seeds to black sticky rice with coconut granola. Wake up late and give 'em a go.

  • 8

    Cuban sandwiches and urban comfort run East Melbourne’s newest cafe. Sitting on Wellington Parade, it’s visible from the window of the 48 tram, just adjacent to the tram stop. It’s easy to find, it’s easy to order off the menu, and it’s easy to settle in, sit back and enjoy the spoils they serve you. Breakfast at Hard Pressed is egg-heavy — it’s mostly a build-it-yourself affair — with the inclusion of some comforting jamon croquettes ($17) and a perfect mound of portobello mushrooms cooked in garlic and sherry vinegar on sourdough, topped with a poached egg and shaved manchego ($15). The star of the show, the Cuban sandwiches, are available all day — Jamaican jerk roast beef, eggplant and pickled octopus, are a few more that accompany the El Cubano (Orange braised pork, Swiss cheese and the all-important pickle) — as are summer salads. The Axil coffee is especially smooth.

     

     

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  • 7

    Find yourself in Fairfield’s newest cafe and you won’t find the same old fare. The cafe eatery stands out on Station Street like a manicured forefinger — among the grocers and old school coffee spots. The open coffee bar serves Small Batch brews both inside and out, and the tables neatly spill out into the arcade next door. It’s a magnet to nearly every passerby. From the outset, it certainly seems like C.H. James has done everything right. An impressive list of providers shows the produce is top notch — you’ll find EDS Breads, Rooftop Honey and Dr. Marty’s Crumpets scattered throughout the menu. Hell, they even cure their own trout in-house (if trout at breakfast is your thing).

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  • 6
    Union St Brewers

    Brunswick’s newest cafe is baking their own bagels and pouring their own brew on Union Street. Opening late last year, Union St Brewers is the first concept store of sorts for Rosso Roasting Co. With ex-Auction Rooms chef Boris Portnoy at the helm, Union St is equally food-centric as it is caffeine obsessed. Do not be deceived by the seemingly small kitchen. This place is like a Mary Poppin’s bag of house-made goods. They also make their own bagels, the kind that are deliciously chewy — not the delusional bread rolls with holes in their middles posing as bagels. They’re legit. All of these house-made goods, while impressive as stand alone items, support a well balanced and concise yet exciting breakfast and lunch menu. Hot tip? Try the Union St Brewers’ shrimp and corn grits ($16.50) and add a poached egg ($3). You’re welcome.

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  • 5

    The new North Melbourne sister cafe to Brunswick favourite, Code Black Coffee. It’s a smaller space (no attached coffee roastery here), and it’s light, airy — less Sydney Road, more Copenhagen — and immaculately designed. The menu doesn’t seem to borrow much from the existing kitchen, with breakfast dishes like the acai bowl ($14.50) and salted apple caramel hotcakes being thrown into the mix. The apple wood hot-smoked salmon on a citrus and herb potato cake ($18) seemed to be getting quite a fanfare on our visit, but we’d suggest the black beans with jalapeno cornbread ($12). The beans make an extra comforting bed for the fried egg and lime, and the cornbread is a nice alternative to regular sourdough. It’s a relatively small dish, so add the pork belly — you won’t regret it. Their signature coffee is a constant, with the same smooth Code Black beans making an excellent cup. And in its own right, Code Black Howard Street is a great cafe serving good coffee and a solid all-day breakfast and lunch menu. It isn’t just Code Black #2, this is a whole new cafe.

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  • 4

    Three words: blue cheese hummus. That’s what you’ll come out of Naughty Boy repeating — over and over, like a prayer or incantation — if you make the right move in ordering the cauliflower and hazelnut fritters with poached eggs and a fennel salad. It’s not a brunch dish likely to be superseded in a hurry — except perhaps by something else on the very same menu. Sweet is covered by a coconut and lime rice pudding with rhubarb and candied almonds ($12.90), and — when we visited — a pancake special. The Bircher with muddled spiced berries and pistachio ($10.50) takes a more virtuous path; oats are subbed for quinoa and chia seeds, making it grainy and wholesome. It’s also one of the many gluten free options. Savoury is where the focus lies though, with the aforementioned fritters taking centre stage, along with twice-cooked pork belly and a breakfast Scotch fillet and fried eggs. The Naughty Boy is a platter set to please, with bacon, tomato, falafel, mushroom and eggs ($20.90) — just be sure to add a side of bacon and gruyere croquettes.

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  • 3

    The lofty warehouse result of longtime collaborators, owner Camillo Ippoliti, chef Karen Batson and architect Philip Schemnitz; standing tall on Little Collins Street. It’s a fully-fledged bar (open ’til 3am every night), and it’s also an all-day eatery, open for lunch, dinner, bar snacks and, most notably, breakfast. It’s the unconventional breakfast menu that really sets Magic Mountain apart from its siblings. As in her other venues, Batson’s menu blends Thai flavours with a modern Australian palette. Diners are encouraged to extend their tastes beyond eggs and bacon to a range of fairly substantial Thai options, both sweet and savoury. If you are feeling less ambitious there are omelettes, and — as the waitress explained — if you think of the black sticky rice with coconut granola and dried mango granola ($14.50) as porridge and liken the roti bread, almond butter, grilled banana and condensed milk as pancakes, then the choices aren’t nearly so confronting.

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    Nourished:385 - CLOSED

    It’s all clean, all day at Prahran’s newest nourishing number. Let’s just start with the fact that the menu is 100% gluten free, and the house made gluten free bread is actually light enough for those accustomed to eating real bread to down without hesitation. The breakfast menu is not what you’d expect. There are no acai bowls in sight. Rather breakfast skewers of charred hard boiled eggs, smoked ham hock, pineapple and sweet potato served on a bed of mixed salad and Dijon mustard ($18), or roasted root vegetables served with tahini, lentil gremolata and poached eggs ($16). If you’re more into the usual stuff, you can order the five seed and whipped coconut cream Bircher which uses chia, sesame, pepitas and linseeds, served with a fruit salad, toasted coconut, and lemon balm ($8), or the smashed avocado served with strawberry jalapeno chutney, herbed labneh, balsamic honey and a slice of Nourished House Loaf ($18).

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  • 1

    Mio Locale gives the sparse area of Fitzroy North something to hang its hat on. Opened by brother and sister Maurice and Emily Paladino, Mio Locale sees chef Oscar Yanez (Green Grocer, The Commoner, Mamasita, Hardware Societe and The European) heading up the kitchen with a focus on Italian dishes and high quality local produce. The breakfast/brunch menu sees house-made honey toasted granola served with strawberry, rhubarb, and vanilla bean yoghurt ($12), while the crushed avocado is served with ricotta salata and fine herbs on sourdough ($14), for a more Italian take on one of Melbourne’s favourite dishes. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, go for the baked eggs with sugo, wilted spinach, labne, dukkah, and toast ($18).

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