As you’ve probably guessed by now, we get to eat at a LOT of Melbourne’s best breakfast venues—whether cute corner cafes or super-luxe fine dining establishments—at The Urban List. In fact, we tend to think that we know just about everything that’s worth knowing when it comes to enjoying the first glorious meal of the day here in our brunch-loving metropolis. But, like any die-hard fan, we’re always searching for that hidden gem, that yet-to-be-discovered moment of brunch bliss, the one breakfast to rule them all, some might say. And, Listers, we reckon we’ve found it in St Kilda.
Rococo—yep, the beloved Italian restaurant that sits in the heart of St Kilda’s buzzing Acland Street—is turning out some of the best breakfasts in Melbourne, from #cleaneating choices to unique twists on Australian brunch favourites. Who’d have thought it? While most of us know Rococo for its delicious traditional pizzas and epic pasta dishes (the spaghetti with fennel, chilli and pan-fried prawns still sits high on my ‘top meals’ lust-list), the St Kilda restaurant’s breakfast menu is a new discovery to us and, let me tell you, it’s been a very welcome one indeed.
Step inside Rococo on any morning and you’ll be greeted by a warm, welcoming atmosphere, complete with open fires (uh, can we make these mandatory in every Melbourne restaurant from now on?), charming staff, and the rich aroma of Italian dark-roasted coffee beans, freshly ground for your first espresso of the day. If coffee isn’t your thing, they serve an incredible superfood smoothie that’s crammed full of berries, cacao nibs and chia seeds, as well as a refreshing house juice that combines mint, pineapple, apple and pear to really pack an a.m. flavour punch.
Starting to feel peckish? The sheer variety and creativity displayed throughout Rococo’s morning menu makes it one of St Kilda’s best breakfast spots for both trying new inventions, and rediscovering old-school favourites. The porridge with caramelised banana and toasted nut crunch is to-die-for, and is trumped only by the bircher, a morning masterpiece that comes topped with fresh berries and a sprinkling of edible flowers, making for one of the prettiest brekkies I’ve ever laid eyes on. Seriously, I’d hang this on my bedroom wall if I could. (Hit me up if you know how to make that possible.)
If you love starting the day with something to satiate your sweet-tooth, you’re going to head straight to the sweeter options. The toasted coconut and banana bread, served with honeyed strawberries, ricotta and pistachios, is the perfect accompaniment to your strong flat white, but it’s the light-as-air buttermilk pancakes that really rocked our brunch-centric world. Served with fresh berry compote and real Canadian maple syrup, these breakfast beauties are like eating mouthfuls of fluffy, pan-warmed clouds—an experience I crave no matter what meal of the day it is.
The savoury dishes are drool-inducing too, ranging from the indulgent (think double smoked ham Benedict, or smoked salmon with grilled asparagus, poached egg and hollandaise) to the OMG-I’m-drunk-on-food, which is exactly how you’ll feel after you’ve devoured the Rococo signature breakfast, which is basically an epic double-whammy of everything a great St Kilda brunch should offer. Got a mate with a hangover? Take them here, and thank us later.
Breakfasts aside, Rococo continues to turn out some of the best Italian food in Melbourne in the form of awesome lunches, incredible antipasti and delicious dining options, which are perfect for group get-togethers and working lunches. Like many Melbourne greats, the venue really comes to life after sundown too, when you can feast your eyes and taste buds on Tassie salmon risotto, slow-cooked ricotta gnocchi, their famous pizzas and pasta dishes, and our pick of the bunch—the Pollo alla Milanese—which brings together pan-fried, seasoned chicken with tangy Italian slaw, and garlic and rosemary spuds. Hell freakin’ yes.
Rumour has it they’re set for bigger things before 2015 is through. An expansion of their pizzeria into a neighbouring unit is locked in for later this year, with many mouth-watering new dishes on the horizon as the seasons change. Watch this space.
Want to know which Rococo dish made our 50 Meals You Should Have Eaten in 2015 list? Hint: Check out #19...
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Image credit: Jenny Fahey-White for The Urban List