By WENDY HARGREAVES
If dining was a sport, breakfast would be the Olympic Games. That wonderful pre-midday meal is the closest thing to Australia’s national cuisine.
Plenty of places do a cracking eggs on toast or millennial smashed avo, but there are cafes who take the brekky experience to a whole new level. Here are five of my favourites.
- 320 Ascot Vale Rd, Moonee Ponds, (03) 9370 2649
- You know a cafe is doing good things when a supermodel and an AFL star buy in to the business. Ascot Food Store’s charismatic owner/chef Dave Stewart now shares the business with Melbourne’s most handsome couple, Megan Gale and Shaun Hampson. The coffee’s always bang on, but it’s the beautiful plates of food that keep people coming back. Try the corn fritters with harissa-spiced avocado, pickled zucchini and a soft egg ($19.30), or up your Benny game with the pressed Berkshire pork belly Benedict, with the tang of pickles and tarragon béarnaise ($21).
- 155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, (03) 9537 0001
- For almost a decade, Paul Jewson has been serving some of Melbourne’s best breakfasts across the road from Albert Park. My favourite is the soba noodle okonomiyaki savoury pancake ($24.50), with miso eggplant, a fried egg and a Szechuan chilli mushroom salad on the side. Make sure you keep an eye on the specials menu for the Istra bacon and fried egg brioche with Swiss cheese, avocado, house-made aoili, tomato relish, feta and rocket ($19.50). AND they have marshmallow-filled chocolate egg “bombs” to add to your hot chocolate ($3). Bliss.
- 174 Smith St, Collingwood, 03 9650 6054
Nachos + fried egg = brekky heaven. Chilaquiles (pronounced chill-uh-kil-ehs, $16) are a famously satisfying breakfast made with leftover tortillas, fried and piled with meat, beans, cheese and salsa. They’re served “divorciados”, which means the red and green salsas are kept separate on the plate (but not for long). This no-frills Mexican bar and diner started serving weekend brunch earlier this year. They also make that oh-so Mexican loaded beer, michelada with tomato juice, black salsa, chilli and a salt rim. It tastes much better than it sounds.
- 10 Katherine Place & 123 Hardware St, Melbourne, (03) 9078 5992
- For the ultimate lush brekkie, head to one of the CBD’s two Hardware cafes and order a lobster benedict ($26). Peak hour queues can be a drag, so visit outside peak brunch time and relax over this cafe classic with sweet, poached lobster on a charcoal bun with perfectly poached eggs and a lovely hollandaise.
- 401 Smith Street, Fitzroy, 03 9416 4336
- Sri Lankan hoppers are the ultimate brekky dish. Part pancake, part crumpet, it’s crispy/spongy bowl made with fermented rice flour and coconut milk, then filled with curry and sambal. Rip off the crispy edges and mop up the curry as you go. There are a few weird cultural mash-ups (Vegemite and avocado hoppers anyone?), so stick with the classic dhal, coconut sambal and spiced onino ($14).