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By Abbey Smith and Concrete Playground
October 02, 2019

The Best Weekday Breakfast Spots in Melbourne's CBD

Never turn up to work hungry again.
By Abbey Smith and Concrete Playground
October 02, 2019


Never turn up to work hungry again.

Melbourne's obsession with weekend breakfasts is ingrained in its identity, but during the week it's sometimes overlooked in favour of a few more snoozes and a couple of extra minutes in a warm bed. We're all about those zzzs, but it's no excuse for skipping the most important meal of the day — especially if you work or study in the city. Brekkie options are boundless in the CBD, with cafes opening early during the week, ready to ply you with good food and even better coffee to start your morning. 

So for the sake of nutrition, productivity, and your tastebuds, we've put together a list of the best spots for breakfast during the week. Take a moment to sit down, read the news and digest before you get locked into the weekday grind. 

  • 13
    Holy Crumpets

    If you just can’t do another piece of peanut butter toast at your desk, Holy Crumpets may have what you’re looking for. The new cafe is serving a variation of the pantry staple that is way better than anything you whack together at home. The new cafe is serving a rotation of single-serve, ready to scoff options featuring crafty toppings alongside more traditional spreads. Think jam, vegemite and cinnamon, passionfruit curd with ricotta, and even a seasonal concoction of truffle butter, blackberry honey and finely grated pecorino. The cafe also offers six-packs of fresh naturally fermented sourdough and wholewheat flour crumpets so you can enjoy them on the weekend, too.

  • 12

    On the weekend, this cafe from the team behind Top Paddock and The Kettle Black usually requires a wait — which is exactly why you should tee-up a pre-work visit instead. The huge 160-seat warehouse venue on the corner of Little Bourke and Spencer streets is impressive to say the least; a palette of exposed brick and green marble is spread across a multi-level space, which includes a raised area, an open kitchen, and a large mezzanine that holds couches, tables and its own bar. So it’s the perfect place to breakfast alone or even hold a meeting. The brunch menu is served up until 3pm and includes the likes of avo on toast, spiced cauliflower scrambled eggs, and even the famous Top Paddock ricotta hotcake.

  • 11

    Before running away from Cumulus Inc. assuming breakfast is going to gobble up the contents of your wallet, hold up. To most people’s surprise, breakfast options are reasonably priced. Cumulus’ European identity translates into its morning dishes, in the forms of house-made crumpets, bacon baps and blood sausage and bacon on toast with fried eggs. The Cumulus Inc. breakfast will get you a boiled egg, toast with jam, a pot of yogurt, plus an orange juice and a coffee or a tea for a very reasonable $19. The predominantly white interiors absorb oodles of morning light to pull you out of your Monday morning slumps. And if that doesn’t do it, order some madeleines with lemon curd — they’re baked to order.

  • 10
    Guild Cafe

    Located in a section of the State Library that’s been closed for more than 15 years, Guild Cafe opened last year as part of the huge precinct refurbishments. The cafe resides just inside the Library’s new Russell Street entrance, right by the Readings bookstore. The cafe offers a short but sweet menu, with classic pastries and breakfast staples including granola with minted coconut yoghurt, and ramen with nori and pickled ginger. With lots of communal tables, big windows, ample light, and an all-day filter coffee pass available for $10, this is the perfect nook to have a meal and a productive morning.

  • 9

    For those in demanding jobs, it can be difficult to get your brain moving in the morning. If you think surrounding yourself with suspended bookshelves and pillars filled with pot plants will get things going, head down Flinders Lane to Journal. Simplicity is key at this restaurant, centred on classic breakfasts such as crumpets, croissants and topped toasts. Plus, you can pick up wifi from the City Library.

  • 8

    The CBD’s decade-old cafe Hardware Societe, is no stranger to a queue — but the opening of its second, 255-square-metre venue this year means less waiting, and more time to eat. The creatively charged brunch fare offers a well-rounded menu, with something to tickle everyone’s morning craving. Give the pork belly and fried eggs a try, or the fried brioche with meringue and berries to fuel the rest of your day.

    Image: Peter Tarasiuk.

  • 7

    The line of vertical gardens mounted on the walls of Manchester Press is a refreshing sight so early in the morning. The cafe usually sings a hum of happy people plunked on retro chairs, enjoying their house-brewed coffee. The menu is centred around open and closed bagels, offering everything from blueberry bagels, to a Philly cheesesteak variation.

    Image: Visit Victoria.

  • 6

    Now-closed Brunswick East neighbourhood favourite Pope Joan lives on after setting up shop on Collins Street in the CBD. The latest opening from chef Matt Wilkinson showcases a range of old-school favourites and clever new dishes, perfect for your weekday morning. The revamped breakfast menu has all the classics to make you stop on your busy morning, including rice pudding, and boiled eggs with soldiers — as well as newer editions to the beloved Pope Joan sandwich line up, including the Club Salad and the Turkish Delight.

    Image: Annika Kafcaloudis.

  • 5

    If your weekday mornings are spent somewhere a little more corporate, the new Liminal space might be the perfect, multi-functional space for you to fuel up before popping off to work. Located in the foyer of the recently refurbished T&G Building, the all-day diner has opened alongside a slew of new retail and dining hot spots. Admire slabs of marble and lounge in comfy couches while you enjoy a range of brekkie staples. Some menu highlights include the toasted pumpkin brioche with buffalo curd, honey, and bay leaf oil, or opt for the classic breakfast bowl. The venue also serves as a wine store, event space and marketplace.

    Image: Carmen Zammit.

  • 4

    Chicken and waffles might sound indulgent as a breakfast dish, but sometimes it’s necessary. Bowery to Williamsburg‘s take on the southern classic will sort you out, whether you’re a little dusty, had a large morning workout or just feel like treating yourself. An illuminated subway sign reading ‘Bowery to Williamsburg’ welcomes diners into the eatery and pays homage to the New York subway stations. Sandwiches are served with a pickle and pretzels to instantly transcend you to a New York deli, but the food is not restricted just to that of waffles — it also serves shakshuka and some killer sandwiches come lunchtime. Those with a little more time can sit and enjoy a Reese’s cup with their coffee and breakfast, otherwise takeaway is available.

  • 3

    At 673 Bourke street, you’ll find a welcoming wooden door, which will lead you into the home of Kinfolk. Kinfolk is not only a cafe, but an organisation that aims to create a more inclusive community by offering training courses and employment opportunities for marginalised people. Plus, the cafe and catering company raises funds for a number of partnered charities. In addition to all this, it’s also a banging brunch spot. Try the mushroom toastie, or give the egg special a go — poached eggs, roast butternut pumpkin, baby spinach and smoked scamorza on sourdough — the next time you’re looking for a feel-good brunch during the week.

  • 2
    White Mojo

    White Mojo serves up one of the CBD’s more indulgent menus — perfect if you’re treating yourself to a birthday breakfast, have a particularly big deadline or, y’know, it’s a Tuesday. A few examples: the signature soft-shell crab burger comes in a croissant, another of the burgers is topped with foie gras, and the “princess” hot cake is doused in dulce de leche. Alternatively you can order granola or eggs on toast — but you might find yourself with a bout of food envy.

  • 1
    The Grain Store

    The bottom end of Flinders Lane is usually overshadowed by its significantly more impressive top end. However, tucked down there is The Grain Store, a spacious eatery offering homey, substantial breakfast dishes. The vibe at The Grain Store is exactly what it sounds like, and is similar to a farmhouse. Behind barn doors, one will find servings of maple rice porridge, chorizo and taleggio omelette, and passionfruit ricotta pancakes. If you’re totally rushed or want to get a group in, call ahead and book a table.


Top image: Hardware Societe by Peter Tarasiuk.

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