Melbourne’s Top Brunch Picks: Where the Locals Love to Dine

Melbourne’s brunch scene is a reflection of the city’s relaxed and leisurely ethos, a tradition that has become as iconic as its famous laneways. Steeped in a history of culinary diversity and café culture, the city offers a unique blend of comfort and sophistication in its brunch spots. These must-try experiences, set against the backdrop of Melbourne’s easy-going charm, are not just meals but a celebration of the city’s love for laid-back indulgence.

1. Abacusbar Bar and Kitchen

Abacus Bar & Kitchen, nestled in Melbourne’s bustling Chapel Street, is a standout cafe known for its all-day dining concept. This venue, boasting an inviting interior, offers a versatile menu that shifts from breakfast to evening snacks. Its unique offerings like spanner crab crumpets and chili-folded eggs, along with a commitment to sustainability, make it a popular destination. The relaxed atmosphere, coupled with a design-driven space, ensures a memorable dining experience.

Established as a beacon of culinary innovation, Abacus Bar & Kitchen has redefined Melbourne’s brunch scene. It breaks the mold with extended opening hours and a diverse, honest menu. The eatery’s dedication to customer service and its eco-friendly ethos add to its charm, drawing crowds eager to indulge in its unique dishes, including crispy mortadella with pickled pineapples and pumpkin croquettes, in one of Melbourne’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

2.Terror Twilight

Terror Twilight, inspired by an indie rock album, is a stylish Melbourne diner with a pastel-pink espresso machine and a wholesome menu. It features unique dishes like a roast-chicken sandwich with lemon mayo and pastries from Cobb Lane Bakery, alongside health-focused drinks and all-day breakfasts.

In its light-washed, plant-filled setting, Terror Twilight offers broths with pick-and-mix sides and a choice of proteins like grilled salmon or fried tofu, complemented by a selection of smoothies and brain-boosting supplements.

3.Cafe Louis Fitzroy

Café Louis Fitzroy, set in Melbourne, offers a vibrant atmosphere and one of the city’s best breakfasts. Its diverse menu reflects global influences, with dishes like Matcha soufflé pancakes and breakfast Banh Mi showcasing a fusion of Vietnamese, European, Japanese, and Korean flavors.

The café stands out for its spacious setting and eclectic culinary offerings. Patrons can indulge in unique creations such as the Bibimbap bowl and Louis big breakfast, making it a go-to destination for food enthusiasts seeking a global taste experience.

4.Kettle Black

The Kettle Black in Melbourne uniquely blends the classic charm of a heritage-listed 1880s terrace house with modern architecture. This fusion creates a distinctive dining ambiance, setting it apart as a sophisticated café-restaurant hybrid. Its menu, featuring items like fluffy ricotta hotcakes and chilli scrambled eggs, is a testament to its commitment to quality and local produce.

📷@Kettle Black

Known for its creative culinary offerings, The Kettle Black stands out with dishes like Tiramisu Croffle and Pork Belly Char Siu. Alongside a selection of gourmet sandwiches and pastries, the café also offers its custom Darling Blend coffee and signature cocktails, making it an ideal spot for both dining and relaxation amidst Melbourne’s urban landscape.

5.The Grain Store

The Grain Store in Melbourne, rooted in the area’s history of warehousing grain and stock, emphasizes fresh produce in its culinary creations. Head chef Ingo Meissner, with a background in German, French, and Mediterranean cuisines, offers “honest cooking” that blends traditional European and contemporary Australian styles, featuring ingredients like quinoa and goji berries.

📷@my Collins

Located on Flinders Lane, The Grain Store’s design echoes a rustic country parlour, complete with painted timber and marble. It’s not just about the food; the café is committed to environmental sustainability, partnering with CERES Fair Food Organic Food Delivery. This cozy spot is perfect for enjoying seasonal dishes with a focus on minimizing food miles

6.Feast of Merit

Feast of Merit in Richmond, inspired by a Nagaland tradition, embodies a communal spirit, inviting patrons to share in its prosperity. This café and restaurant is an initiative by YGAP (Y-Generation Against Poverty), aiming to provide permanent funding for youth education and leadership projects in various countries including Malawi, Ghana, and Australia.

Blending local-sustainable eating with chic design using salvaged timber, Feast of Merit not only offers exceptional food but also contributes to a greater cause. Profits are channeled into developing communities, with suppliers like St ALi and Hopkins River Beef supporting the initiative through product donations, making it a unique fusion of culinary delight and moral responsibility.

7.Higher Ground

Higher Ground in Melbourne, housed in a heritage-listed former powerhouse, offers an all-day dining experience in the heart of the city. Its multi-level design, inspired by the Ace Hotel and Soho House in London, features a suite of intimate tiered platforms within the original brick structure, providing a unique ambiance flooded with natural light.

📷@Lauren Vadnjal

Renowned for pushing the boundaries of the café experience, Higher Ground boasts a creative menu with items like blue swimmer crab Benedict with caviar. Its siblings, Top Paddock and The Kettle Black, share this innovative spirit. The café also features small plates, a stainless-steel bar for coffee, unusual teas, and cocktails, making it a versatile space for dining, lounging, or working.

8.Small Axe Kitchen

Small Axe Kitchen, founded in 2016 by Adam Pruckner, Kirstyn Tate, and Jas Singh, has become a Brunswick staple. This cozy café, inspired by the couple’s honeymoon in Sicily, blends the rich cultural tapestry of Italy with modern Melbourne flavors, making it a local favorite.

Situated in a century-old building in Brunswick, the café showcases a unique industrial design with open-air seating. The menu, influenced by Pruckner’s Sicilian heritage, features distinctive dishes like breakfast pasta with cured pork cheek and Sicilian meatballs, paired with a selection of Italian and Australian wines and seasonal coffee blends from Code Black.

9. Campos Coffee South Yarra

Campos Coffee, a pioneer in Australia’s specialty coffee scene for over 20 years, has established itself as a key supplier of premium beans to numerous cafes, including its own outlets in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. Its Melbourne branch, in the vibrant South Yarra area, is a testament to its longstanding commitment to quality coffee.

The South Yarra café, designed by Guru Projects, exudes a European espresso bar ambiance with warm tones and rotating local art. Besides serving lattes and flat whites with their signature Superior Blend, the cafe offers pastries from AM Bakehouse and caters to diverse dietary needs with options from Mahadeva’s Kitchen. Patrons can also purchase beans and home-brewing equipment, benefiting from an in-house grinding service.

10.The Terrace

The Terrace, nestled within Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, offers a serene dining experience with views of the Ornamental Lake. Renowned as a prime spot for enjoying scones, the café is part of the Darling Group, known for its distinguished hospitality ventures.

Refurbished by Techne Architecture & Interior Design, The Terrace features a chic indoor-outdoor setting with lush green tones and geometric furnishings. Its diverse menu includes ricotta hotcakes and Turkish-style eggs, complemented by a fully licensed bar. The venue also boasts an events space, making it a picturesque destination for gatherings.