Fave 5 South Melbourne Cafes

By Sophie Colvin
21st Jul 2015

When we love something we really, truly LOVE something! And that’s exactly how we feel about our new relationship! Some things just go together. Like cookies and cream, Brandon and Brenda… The Urban List and MINI! 

Our two families have collaborated to bring discerning readers and drivers a new fortnightly series – MINI Fave 5s. The must-try guide to Melbourne, celebrating the launch of the new MINI 5-door hatch

So, Urban Listers, clear the diary and get excited for our Fave 5s. There’s a whole year of eating, drinking and discovering to be done… 


It seems kinda unfair to the rest of Melbourne that one little suburb should boast the lion’s share of epic cafes. It’s home to some of the best coffee goin’ round, breakfasts that’ll bring a tear to your bacon-loving eye, and fitouts to flip out over. So which ‘burb are we banging on about? Sorry Fitzroy, not today. Today, we're looking at South Melbourne. More specifically, we’re counting down our Fave 5 South Melbourne Cafes—the must-visits if you’re brunching in the area.  

Chez Dré

Around the corner and down the alley, you’ll find one of South Melbourne’s best cafes—how very Melbourne.
Chez Dré mashes up of a few of our favourite things: cosy booths, a spacious outdoor area, a pastry cabinet, and all the glorious bread that you could dream of. The menu is extensive and they haven’t shied away from richer dishes (helloooo duck sandwich), but fear not, there are plenty of lighter options as well. Baked treat and breads abound; they’re routinely accompanied by house-made jams. We’re smitten kittens. 

The Kettle Black

From the Top Paddock crew, The Kettle Black is a South Melbourne cafe-cum-restaurant pieced together with a most considered tone. Finding home in an old terrace house, the fit-out serves as a prelude to the menu—it’s an exercise in refinement. The marble bar, bay window and dotted greenery make you feel right at home, almost as though you might be sitting in an old friend’s kitchen. Apart from the food, of course.
It’s hard to go past the crayfish in an ash roll with leaves, lime and mayonnaise. But then if you’re a sucker for a good ol’ eggs Benedict, The Kettle Black version with a pork shoulder twist is up there with the best. The takeaway cart out the front isn’t to be underestimated, either. Serving sandwiches, salads and coffee to go, it’s all the flavour and none of the wait. Well played, Kettle Black.

St Ali

Considered by some to be the God Father of coffee in Melbourne, no list of the best South Melbourne cafes would be complete without St Ali. It’s not the easiest place to find, but then the best ones rarely are, are they? St Ali fills an old warehouse and has capitalised on this as an asset—think high ceilings and communal tables. Naturally, the coffee is up there with the best and is sourced from all around the world; helpfully the menu includes tasting notes for each one. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of My Mexican Cousin, St Ali’s famed corn fritter dish for which the recipe is a secret—it’d be remiss of us to not recommend it. St Ali is also a great one to hit up if you’re after an a decent selection of gluten-free or vegetarian dishes

Dead Man Espresso

Lying on the outer edge of South Melbourne, Dead Man Espresso is best known for its coffee. Serving up a custom blend made especially for them by Seven Seeds, it’s rich, punchy and just what the doctor ordered. The menu has been brilliantly curated to include everyone’s Melbourne breakfast favourites and a few quirky special additions. We’re not about to turn down a Dead Man Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger—it’s a bun packed with pickles, slaw, and the all-important fried chicken, and is our pick of the menu.Embracing natural materials, wood features strongly throughout Dead Man Espresso, to create a relaxed vibe both inside and out on the balcony. All the better to stay for one more killer cup of Joe. 

Proper & Son

Nestled in the South Melbourne Market, Proper & Son is well worth a visit on market days. It’s a cafe in itself (no higgledy piggledy tables and chairs in a market aisle), and has made the most of its proximity to all that fresh produce. Embracing the produce-to-plate concept, Proper & Son serves up seasonal dishes, according to what’s available.  A selection of rotating salads is on offer, but if you’re after something a little heartier, the Market Roast Rolls are finger lickin’ good. The fit out is open plan with the kitchen sitting at the centre of the space, which sits slightly below street level. Black beams, blonde wood and an abundance of white tiles give this good lookin’ South Melbourne cafe a modern but cosy feel.

We're thrilled to partner with MINI to bring you our Fave 5 series—our fortnightly guide to the best of the best in Melbourne. From food to fashion, Campari to Crossfit, each Fave 5 edition is researched and recommended by The Urban List, and driven by the new MINI 5-Door Hatch—putting the city at your fingertips and giving you the freedom to explore it!

Image credits: Chez Dré, Kettle Black, St Ali & Dead Man Espresso - Simon Shiff for The Urban List, Proper & Son - Rebecca Newman for The Urban List

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Unilever tracking pixel

You May Also Like