A few years ago, a song came out by The Bedroom Philosopher that so perfectly satirised hipster culture that all we could do was bow down in respect. ‘Northcote (So Hungover)’ followed the journey of a typical Melbourne hipster who only stopped talking about obscure bands and tofu salad long enough to have his skinny jeans surgically removed. If by some freak occurrence you have never heard this gloriously facetious song, please follow this link immediately.
Because in tribute to trams, hipsters and hangovers, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to brunch spots on the #86 Bundoora RMIT tram route. We’ve included tram stop numbers, we’ve considered postmodern dietary requirements, and all that remains now is for you to embrace your inner hipster (ironically, of course).
Stop No. 15 – Smith St/Gertrude St: La Niche
Complete with a sunny courtyard out the back, nude painted ladies in the toilets and coffee served in a bowl, this cosy French café is an absolute gem. Their brunches are generously portioned and gloriously buttery, plus they do breakfast cocktails and some of the best pain au chocolat in town. Better yet, you will never ever feel rushed here. You can sit quietly at your table wearing sunglasses until the bounteous amounts of butter make your hangover drift away.
Stop No. 19 – Johnston St/Smith St: Bedford Street
What could be better than a plate of fried chicken and waffles to line that poor, alcohol-addled stomach of yours? Maybe some deep-fried apple pie or a thick slab of belly bacon with roasted sauerkraut and fried eggs? Bedford Street is open all day to fulfil your greasy hangover needs, and while the vegetarian options are scarce, there’s one hell of a Southern-style vegan cutlet. There are also pancakes, and a Bloody Mary rendition that involves kangaroo jerky.
Stop No. 25 – Clifton Hill Interchange/Queens Pde: Mixed Business
What you did last night is strictly your business, but Mixed Business is a great place to meet if you want to boast about it. Hoe into a ploughman’s breakfast with free-range pork belly, boiled eggs, vintage cheddar, toast, tomato and pickles, or go the sweet route with pecan-crumbed apple pie waffles. The coffee is suburb, the potato röstis are plentiful, and the Good Morning burger will get you smiling again.
Stop No. 27 – Westgarth St/High St: Gypsy Hideout
If there’s anything better than carb-on-carb action when you’re hungover, we can’t think of it. Gypsy Hideout has a snug courtyard and a laidback vibe which adds to the charm of the interesting but unintimidating menu. The carb-on-carb action comes in the form of a toasted sandwich stuffed with sweet potato, sauerkraut, sage, walnuts and tahini, while those more interested in meat can dig into the pork spare ribs served on homemade crumpets. There is a ‘Bounty’ smoothie made with coconut cream (smoothies are healthy, right?) and a satisfyingly spicy Bloody Mary.
Stop No. 39 – Ballantyne St/High St: Short Round
Short Round is a bit of a hipster’s wet dream–it’s not every day you find champagne hollandaise on a menu, let alone candied rosemary and truffled béchamel. As fancy as some of the ingredients on the menu may sound, though, it’s a great place to kick back and recover. From the brioche sliders with scrambled eggs and bacon to the Japanese pancake topped with a fried egg, you can’t go wrong with their brunch options.
Stop No. 41 – Blythe St/High St: Umberto Espresso Bar
A tiny little espresso bar and restaurant that’s as old-school as your Nonna’s recipes but as modern as meme generators, Umberto is a small, skinny, wood-panelled space serving up dishes from all regions of Italy. The brunch menu features creamy ricotta scrambled eggs served with roasted mushrooms, garlic aioli, fresh prosciutto and toasted ciabatta as well as fried capsicum accompanied by two free-range eggs, baked cannellini beans, rosemary parmesan rösti and toasted ciabatta. The coffee is ultra smooth and you can pick up featherlight jam doughnuts.
Stop No. 46 – McNamara St/Gilbert Rd: Cheshire Café
Like the cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, this café may be further down the rabbit hole than you’re used to going, but it’s definitely worth the journey. The baked polenta with poached eggs, caramelized onions, crispy prosciutto, wilted spinach and house-made hollandaise is delicious as well as beautiful thanks to the addition of edible flowers, and the avocado toast is liberally strewn with Meredith goat’s cheese as well as fresh tomato and micro herbs. This place is known for their baked goods so pick up a Cheshire cat cookie and rejoice if you’re gluten-free–the pumpkin, rosemary and polenta bread can be substituted into all meals.
Stop No. 51 – Wood St/Plenty Rd: Disco Beans
Start with a green tea latte then dig into a plate of free-range scrambled eggs with Mexican-style black beans, spinach, jalapeño and cheese, all topped with coriander pesto and homemade tomato sauce on two slices of multigrain toast at Disco Beans. Craving something with avocado? The combination of scrambled eggs, Bulgarian feta, smoked salmon, homemade guacamole and multigrain toast will leave you feeling satisfied as well as moderately healthy.
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Image credit: Griffin Simm