A 7-day guide to the best brunch spots in Melbourne
It's 11am, you're hungry and you're in Melbourne... what would Craig David do? Here, we use a soft-pop tune to map out a week's worth of the city’s most seductive brunches.
In his soft-pop/garage anthem ‘7 Days’, walking six-pack and comeback king Craig David methodically maps out his week of seduction, which begins on Monday, escalates by hump day and trails off into a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion by Sunday (clearly Craigie’s day of rest): ‘…we chilled on Sunday.’
Unlike Mr David, we prefer cinnamon toast to ‘cinnamon queens’, and actual honey as opposed to the female kind. Since there’s no better place in the world to breakfast and brunch than Melbourne and as a respectful tribute to ‘7 Days’, we’ve written a seven-day, Melbourne-centric brunch diary, loosely based on Craig’s chronicled movements. All you need to do? Turn up, preferably hungry, with your current cinnamon-flava crush in tow (overly snug-fitting beanie: optional).
MONDAY If, like Craig, you plan on meeting a ‘beautiful honey with a beautiful body’ on a Monday morning, you’ll need to prepare for the love-fest with a big feed first. We suggest Cumulus Inc (captained by top chef Andrew McConnell, who also owns the equally appetising Cutler & Co.) in the city centre, where you can breakfast like corporate champions in a slick, high-ceilinged space, packed to burst with suited ’n’ booted types hungry for deals and dukkah, and well-coiffed PRs investing their expense budgets wisely.
Brunch munch Calorie-conscious Craig would probably opt for bircher muesli, semi sexed-up with apple and almonds. For us, it would be a toss-up between home-made crumpets slathered with whipped ricotta and rooftop honey, lemon-curd stuffed madeleines, or the full English, featuring smoked tomatoes, farmhouse slab bacon and blood sausage on toast.
TUESDAY Craig took his honey for a drink on Tuesday; to follow in his romantic footsteps, you’ll need to line your stomach without getting too full. The Kettle Black in South Melbourne should more than do the trick: this airy, crowd-pleasing café set in a tempting townhouse serves doctor-approved concoctions, plated up with Insta-conscious flair.
Brunch munch If you like oceanic starts to your day – sardines, smoked mackerel et al – opt for Kettle Black’s tataki trout served with a raw kale and pickled vegetable salad, seaweed, almonds and poached eggs. We can’t confirm whether Craig has a sweet tooth; if he did, he’d probably order polenta porridge with burnt maple and – ahem – ‘textures’ of strawberry and basil.
WEDNESDAY According to Craig, hump day is exactly that, so a protein-heavy breakfast will stand you in good stead for the action-packed day – and night – ahead. Melbourne nails sushi in its sleep: begin the day with fluffy rice and sea-fresh sashimi at Salon de Sushi’s nifty little space in sedate South Melbourne, all exposed brick and gritty-pretty extras. Doors open from 11.30am, Monday–Friday; if you prefer the idea of a Japanese breakfast in bed, Salon de Sushi obligingly does delivery.
Brunch munch Do as the Japanese do and start the day with miso soup, steamed rice, fish and some sides: seaweed salad and Sushiya’s Omelet, perhaps. You’re bound to be banging out garage anthems after that.
THURSDAY This is the morning after the night before and naturally, you’ll be exhausted: an indulgent, no-holds-barred breakfast is called for. Step forward New Yawk-style carb-fest Bowery to Williamsburg, in the Central Business District. Craig might wince at the thought of the calories, but he would have burned a bunch off on Wednesday night, anyway.
Brunch munch Go large: Southern-fried chicken with plumptious waffles, whipped spiced butter, chipotle sauce and maple syrup. (PS For more of the city’s finest dirty bird, hit up the correctly named Super Tasty Rooster in Fitzroy North, which does frill-free take-away fowl.)
FRIDAY Craig was still making love on Friday and who knows, with help from this guide, perhaps you’ll be, too. Head to Brunswick East for a low-key brunch date at popular Pope Joan, which has handsome hirsute staff, a button-cute alfresco area with colour-pop seats and a loyal following of ’hood hipsters.
Brunch munch Everybody likes a tart (a haloumi and pumpkin one, that is; served here with fried eggs, currants and crispy onions); then again, everyone in their right mind also likes the Pope’s huevos: poached and paired with chorizo, spiced beans, guacamole and pickled chili.
SATURDAY Saturday – yet another busy day of lovemaking, if you’re anything like Craig. Better start the day right with breakfast or brunch at Collingwood stalwart, Bluebird Espresso, whose original owner now heads up Fitzroy favourite Archie’s All Day. What this pocket-rocket café lacks in space, it more than makes up for in flavour; it’s also blue, in the best way, and in possession of a smash-hit courtyard that’s a three-seasons delight.
Brunch munch Everybody knows Melburnians have a rampant avocado addiction; blend in by opting for smashed avo with Meredith feta on black-sesame toast (pimped with bacon and poached eggs, obvs), or get spicy with the pork Benny: smoked pulled pork on a – wait for it – jalapeño cheddar-cornbread waffle, plus two poached eggs and hollandaise.
SUNDAY Today is your day of rest and, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have earned it. Relaxed Richmond is a soothing Sunday spot, so take your six-day crush to Top Paddock and settle in for a leisurely morning meal. Bright, breezy and decked out with gleaming white subway tiles, Paddock justifies its place on top with inventive breakfast dishes and winsome service.
Brunch munch If Craig were to pen a garage anthem on the topic of breakfast, we hope he’d dedicate one verse to Top Paddock’s blueberry-and-ricotta hotcakes (served with seasonal fruits and lashings of maple syrup and cream) and a line or two to the early-bird burger, starring Wagyu beef, pickled green tomato and special sauce.