Deep down, we all fancy ourselves as Patsy Stone or Bernard Black. Champagne for breakfast? A swig of beer to chase away the mid-morning blues? Fill us up. We take our breakfast and booze very seriously, and we like to be able to have both when and where we want them. That’s why we’re lucky to live in Melbourne, with so many licenced cafés only a stone’s throw (or a short stumble) away. Here are the best spots to get your hair-of-the-dog on.
If you consider it a small victory that you got out of bed at all, this north-side café should be your first port of call. With five different egg dishes and nine different sides on offer at Small Victories, you can scoff down a breakfast tortilla with fried eggs, spicy Berkshire pork belly, pickles, radish, cheese, peanuts and coriander alongside a pint of Harcourt cider. Don’t fancy eggs? How about buttermilk waffles with candied pecans, gingerbread ice-cream, pumpkin custard and maple syrup, with a glass of rosé to wash it down? It’s the height of civilisation, and you can even place requests for the record player spinning vinyl beside the juice machine.
Top Paddock is run by the same cool kids who operate Three Bags Full, Two Birds One Stone and Kettle Black, but it trumps the lot because it’s got all-day licencing. Go for the eponymous Top Paddock with chorizo, pickled onion, peppers, basil, bacon, green tomatoes, poached eggs and relish on toast and wash it down with a Bloody Mary. Alternatively, get the sticky black gingerbread with ‘drunken berries’ and chocolate ganache, and share a bottle of wine from Gippsland with your table. The predominantly-Victorian beer list is an indie kid’s dream, and Top Paddock also does an Instagram-worthy Mimosa.
Magic Mountain Saloon
Magic Mountain has a long list of breakfast cocktails – eight in total – which means you know this is a seriously good place to come for a boozy brunch. Standouts include the Orange Koi (gin, vermouth, carrot juice, fresh ginger, sweet vinegar and lime) and the Spearhead (Absolut pear vodka, elderflower liqueur, pear nectar and champagne). Luckily, the breakfast menu is equally extensive, so you won’t get totally monstered before midday. A sweet dish of roti bread, almond butter, grilled banana and condensed milk is a great treat to share, while the spicy shrimp rice with sticky lamb and fresh coriander will fill you up and fuel your brain.
This Glen Iris gem serves up Asian-inspired breakfasts in a bright, airy space near Burwood Station. The Not So Florentine pairs a couple of poached eggs with sautéed Chinese spinach and the squeaky goodness that is halloumi cheese, while the Polenta Nuggets come on a bed of avocado puree with ribbons of house-cured lemongrass salmon and a poached egg. If both these options sound too wholesome to be trusted, that’s where the booze comes in. Baba Sus is pouring red, white and sparkling wines, along with Endless pear cider and Hawthorn pale ale from 7.30am. They even do a brekkie dish called The Hangover, which combines congee, Thai basil pork, pickled cucumber, pickled daikon, pork scratchings and a tea egg, and should be tackled with a cold bottle of Asahi.
Isit has a white picket fence that’ll make you feel right at home – so why not start drinking? The menu suggests you start your day with a Bloody Mary, Aperol Spritz or Espresso Martini, and it would be rude not to take their advice. Pick your cocktail then choose between inventive dishes like Shakshuka baked eggs with zataar Turkish bread, or the sautéed wild mushrooms with poached eggs, truffle oil and toasted hazelnuts. If you’re in the market for something bigger, try one of the all-day burgers with a side of triple-cooked chips. The little astroturf courtyard is the perfect place for chilling with a bottle of Kokori Savignon Blanc, and the crafty beer list features crowd favourites like Doss Blockos Pale and Sierra Nevada Kellerweis.
Wide Open Road
Wide Open Road’s legendary coffee lends itself nicely to an Espresso Martini, but when the breakfast rush is on, you might have to satisfy yourself with a spicy Bloody Mary or a classic Screwdriver. There’s also a solid beer, cider and wine list to wash down the effortlessly interesting menu. Think scrambled green eggs scattered with spicy glazed pancetta served on toasted pumpkin bread, or roasted portobello mushrooms with ‘savoury granola’ and housemade Shanklish cheese. For something on the fun side, order a Boozy Pom Pom.
Good old Cumulus Inc. There’s a reason why it’s been featured in the Age Good Food Guide for the last seven years in a row, and that reason is that the food and drink offering is next-level. For breakfast, the Cumulus crew offer bircher, crumpets, bagels and baps, along with a weekends-only sausage ’n’ bean braise topped with a 65°C poached egg. Sip on a Raspberry Fizz with Ketel One vodka or go all out and order a bottle of their top-shelf bubbly. Do you have to be super cool to eat here? No, but it doesn’t hurt.
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