Melbourne has often been touted as the coffee capital of the world. I think this statement is only true insofar if one actually knows where to go, and that’s where it gets tricky. While I do sense that most visitors seem to think that the coffees here are almost uniformly good, as a ‘local’ I beg to differ. A really really good cup remains hard to find.
I only started loving brunches after a barista friend cultivated my love for coffees circa Autumn 2011. Readers of this blog will know how mad I have been over this humble bean, just read any brunch post to find out to what extent. In terms of time-line, I’d like to make it clear that any posts dated before mid 2011 indicates less tasting knowledge around coffees. I became more of a coffee geek only after that period.
If you’re reading any of my brunch posts, let it be known that as of 2012, I’ve grown more ‘polite’ with my opinions regarding each venue’s coffees. I’m very finicky with my beans and how they’re extracted, I admit it. To avoid being too harsh with cafés that make sub-standard coffees, I’ve decided to hold back my punches with so-so coffees, and just give short comments only. Generally, if a place doesn’t serve good coffees, You’ll find I’d order teas or juices instead (big hint).
This shortlist of brunch places are the ones that I personally love, you shouldn’t think of it as one of those all-encompassing “Melbourne’s Best Brunch Spots” lists. When it comes to my own personal fondness for brunch venues, the primary pull-factor would be how good the coffees are. Food and overall ambience flies in as an equal second, although there have been exceptions.
I’ll divide the list into two sections. The first list consists of brunch places that I’ve visited repeatedly and have consistently enjoyed. The second list will detail places that I’ve enjoyed based on just one visit. They’re sorted according to suburb, and clicking the café link will take you to the blog post I’ve written about it.
Cafés I’ve Loved
The Premises, Kensington
Great coffees using Seven Seed’s house blend, I enjoyed an amazing single origin here too. What I like about the menu here is how light, pickly and zesty most dishes are. Absolutely up my taste alley. This is my go-to place for good coffees and brunches near work.
Red Door Corner Store, Northcote
This may sound like a biased entry since I personally know the head barista there. But I genuinely think his coffees stands alongside with Melbourne’s best cups. Fakegf thinks so too. Beans come from The Maling Room. The café’s snug in the middle of residential suburbia and the menu’s far from boring. To be honest, the reason why I’m not visiting more often is not only because it’s far from home, but also it actually feels awkward being at a friend’s café and being served by him!
Dead Man Espresso, South Melbourne
I really like the fit-out and vibe around this café, sit anywhere and it somehow still feels cosy. Coffees are from Seven Seeds and, once again, they make it very well here. And I’ve never been disappointed with any of the dishes I’ve had here, great menu!
Duchess Of Spotswood, Spotswood
The Duchess has got lots going for it. Quiet, remote location, warm staff, great food and nice coffees. Beans come from Auction Room’s Candyman blend, but they also have a special guest blend every week. Don’t forget to check out the day’s quirky specials (I had lamb’s brains once!), the staff will describe them to you. Why I love this café so much though is its staff, there’s absolutely no air of uppityness about them. Even when it’s crazy busy, they remain happy and friendly.
Cafés I’ve Loved
(based on one visit)
Coin Laundry, Armadale
While I’m not a fan of the coffees (Allpress beans), the brunch fare here is to die for. Friendly, handsome staff, and a very pleasant ‘suburban’ ambience here.
Pope Joan, Brunswick East
Again, I don’t like the coffees here (Allpress beans), but I have to admit the one brunch dish (by chef Matt Wilkinson) I had was soo exceptionally delicious that I’m more than happy to come back
De Clieu, Fitzroy
Nice (Seven Seeds) coffees, trendy buzz, and an interesting menu tells me I might be coming back soon.
Ora Cafe, Kew
We’ve tried several cups of coffees here from just one visit, and they were consistently magnificent! Beans comes from Proud Mary. The menu is quirky and interesting as well. The only reason why I’ve not made a repeat visit is its distance from my home.
Twenty & Six Espresso, North Melbourne
This small café has a lovely, quirky fit-out, a very nice ambience to brunch at. The menu is quite small but good, and they make great coffees using Proud Mary beans.