journeyman melbourne

While Sydney might have the architectural eye-candy and picture-postcard beaches, there’s no question that Melbourne is the jewel in Australia’s culinary crown. Having brought The Fat Duck to the city (recently replaced by a second outpost of Dinner), Heston Blumenthal describes Melbourne’s burgeoning restaurant scene as “the world’s biggest food explosion”, with a wealth of eateries operating at Michelin-starred levels in spite of the hallowed guide’s continued reluctance to acknowledge venues in the southern hemisphere.

If eating out is something of a religion to Melburnians, then brunch is their holy grail. After all, this is where avocado on toast caught its big break and the home of the flat white. You have to go some way wrong to find a bad brunch joint in Melbourne – and if you do, chances are it won’t be around for long. There are so many options to choose from – but here are the ones worth getting out of bed for.

Top Paddock

A Melbourne institution with the queues to match as half of Richmond descends in search of succour from the ills of the night before at the weekend. Plenty come here for the coffee alone (there’s a dedicated station that helps keep things moving) but the blueberry and ricotta hotcake is worth knuckling down and bagging a table for. Even more so if you can get one out on the sun deck.

  • +61 3 9429 4332
  • Go to Website
  • 658 Church Street
    Richmond
    Melbourne
    VIC 3121

Abacus

Housed in a former bank building on Chapel Street, Abacus scores big on looks with its chic wood and concrete fit-out, double-height ceilings and six-metre fig tree taking pride of place on the restaurant floor. Food is equally ambitious, with head chef Chris Connolly (formerly of Top Paddock) creating a menu studded with “out of the box” dishes. Go for the chilli scrambled eggs served with seaweed, mozzarella and olive dust atop jet-black charcoal toast – a future Instagram favourite if ever we saw one.

  • +61 3 9824 1026
  • Go to Website
  • 383 Chapel Street
    South Yarra
    Melbourne
    VIC 3141

Journeyman

Most of the cafés on this list can boast one of the city’s must-try dishes, but Journeyman can reasonably lay claim to two such bucket-listers. First up is the avocado hummus toast, a twist on the ubiquitous smashed avocado, kicked up a notch by heavenly cubes of honey-candied bacon and a sprinkling of dukkah. That one is rightly the Journeyman signature, but the smoked salmon bruschetta with smashed peas, charred lemon and poached eggs is a worthy contender.

  • +61 3 9521 4884
  • Go to Website
  • 169 Chapel Street
    Windsor
    Melbourne
    VIC 3181

ST ALi

The old campaigner of the local brunch scene, ST ALi has been roasting and serving its acclaimed coffee from this south Melbourne warehouse for over a decade. Industrial interiors and a hip-hop soundtrack might cater to hipster tastes, but the quality of the food and coffee means the crowd is reliably mixed. Be sure to check out “my Mexican cousin” – corn fritters served with poached eggs, grilled halloumi and a zingy corn and cucumber salsa, a long-running favourite from ST ALi alumnus and Melbourne food hero, Ben Cooper.

Tall Timber

A stone’s throw from the buzz of Chapel Street, Tall Timber is a welcome oasis of calm on Commercial Road. The pleasant outside courtyard is the place to be, while the house spin on smashed avocado (beetroot hummus, feta and chimichurri) is one of the city’s best. The menu errs towards the traditional, but smashed peas with prosciutto and pesto makes for a welcome detour from the classics.

  • +61 3 9676 9333
  • Go to Website
  • 60 Commercial Road
    Prahran
    Melbourne
    VIC 3181

Proud Mary

Melbourne’s best coffee? It’s a hotly contested title, but Proud Mary is rightly at the centre of any conversation. You can make your own mind up at the dedicated brew bar at this cosy Collingwood café, with a whole host of grinds available through cold drip, espresso and AeroPress. The food is no joke either, with ex-Attica (of the World’s 50 Best fame) chef Vicky Symington heading up the kitchen.

  • +61 3 9417 5930
  • Go to Website
  • 172 Oxford Street
    Collingwood
    Melbourne
    VIC 3066

Journeyman

ST ALi

Proud Mary

Top Paddock

Abacus

Tall Timber

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