There's nothing that hits the spot quite like a good breakfast. Whether it's a quick take-away purchase on the way to work, a greasy meal to speed up recovering from the night before, or a late morning linger accompanied by coffee and the weekend newspaper, a good breakfast is the best way to kick start your day.
Forget the stock standard eggs, bacon and sausages with The Urban List's guide to the top 10 vegetarian breakfasts in Melbourne. From breakfast burritos to scrambled tofu and trifle, here's all you need to know ahead of your next morning meal.
A Minor Place is an inner-city institution, having brought hipster to Brunswick before Brunswick went hipster. Breakfast-goers cram into the converted weatherboard by morning – if you land a milk crate out front you've done well; if you score a table inside it's your lucky day. The signature vegetarian breakfast dish here is Henry's white beans – a creamy compelling blend of beans, garlic and rosemary sprinkled with dukkah and served with rocket and toast. Wash it down with a latte and all of a sudden the day's looking good.
A Minor Place | 103 Albion Street in Brunswick
The latest addition to Coburg's burgeoning cafe landscape is Ruby's – a quaint, cosy space nestled on Nicholson Street. While the décor – and milkshake menu – recalls an American diner, the food shines with Greek influences and a mixture of breakfast and brunch dishes. Worth making repeated visits for is the French Kiss – Greek sweet bread, soaked in free-range egg, fried and served with Greek yoghurt, homemade lemon curd, berries and maple syrup. One word review: winner.
Ruby's | 138 Nicholson Street in Coburg
While Smith Street has undergone a dramatic foodie revitalisation in recent years, Soulfood Cafe has remained one constant. The vegetarian/vegan cafe remains as comfortable and reliable as it was on day one, and with a largely meat-free menu, there's plenty of breakfast dishes to choose from. It's hard to go past the scrambled tofu – generously served with tossed mushrooms, spinach, grated carrot, Spanish onions and sweet soy dressing – as the pick of the vegetarian brunch bunch.
Soulfood cafe | 273 Smith Street in Fitzroy
Feel like Mexican as you roll out of bed? No worries. Gertrude Street's ever-popular 'Fresh Mex cantina' is open from 10am on weekends (11am weekdays) with an all-day vegetarian menu of tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos. The breakfast burrito, with two free-range scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa in a flour tortilla, hits the spot after a big night. At a tad over $10, you can add beans or salad for some extra kick. A vegan option with soy cheese and tofu instead of egg is also available.
Trippy Taco | 234 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy
There's a misconception among many that vegetarians only enjoy healthy breakfasts – but it's not the case. We enjoy our guilty pleasures and hangover busters as much as anybody, so thank heavens for Lord of the Fries' breakfast menu. Currently only available at the Flinders Street branch, the small but excellent menu includes hash browns and a handful of 'Breaky Burgers' like the Melbourne (egg, mayo, cheese and mustard). For an extra $1, you can include soy bacon.
Lord of the Fries | Flinders Street Station in Melbourne
FRIENDS OF MINE
Down the 'other' end of Swan Street – away from Richmond station and the Corner Hotel – you'll find Friends of Mine, a thriving space where breakfast is served until the kitchen closes at 3pm. For something sweet, we recommend the toasted banana bread with maple syrup mascarpone, fresh banana, berry compote and pistachios. If you're in a savoury mood, earmark the vegetarian goodness of the smashed avocado with thyme buttered mushies, marinated feta and torn basil as a great start to your day.
Friends of Mine | 506 Swan Street in Richmond
In theory, a bowl of fruit and yoghurt shouldn't be cause for excitement. But the incarnation at Windsor's legendary Orange – one of Chapel Street's most popular restaurants – never fails to hit the spot. Known as the 'fruit platter,' it's a dish of flavoursome fresh fruit accompanied by natural yoghurt and vanilla and honey-roasted oat crumble. There's also terrific banana bread on the menu. Sometimes the simple things in life are the most effective, and this is truly a vegetarian breakfast gem.
It's easy to stroll past this tiny brick building without noticing it – but once you've enjoyed a meal here, you won't make the same mistake. Excellent coffee and a relaxed communal floor plan set the scene, while the all-day, all-vegetarian menu is available until the kitchen shuts at 3.30pm daily. Popular options include sweetcorn hotcakes and buckwheat apple pancakes, but our pick is the Blackpool Breakfast Trifle. Layers of seasonal fruit, granola and dairy-free vanilla bean ice cream unite to create a decadent, irresistible breakfast.
Monk Bodhi Dharma | Rear 202 Carlisle Street in Balaclava
Part of the St Ali empire, Hawthorn's Liar Liar is an airy, bustling space set behind Glenferrie Road. Equipped with a drinks menu full of fresh juices, smoothies, granitas and milkshakes, the cafe has an all-day breakfast menu with plenty of vegetarian options. There's the obligatory Big Fat Veggie Breakfast packed with eggs, mushroom, spinach and more, but we prefer to indulge with the orange crepes (folded with mascarpone, mango, blueberry salsa and toasted coconut). Yum.
Liar Liar | 50 Kinkora Road in Hawthorn
Among the usual suspects on Pearl Oyster's menu – muesli, bagels, eggs – is one of the better vegetarian bites around town. The spinach and haloumi triangular pie (with salad, pickled cucumber, marinated onion and house-made harissa) may not be a strictly breakfast-only item, but nobody ever said you ever have to be conventional with the first meal of the day. Throw in the retro interior and leafy (smoke free!) courtyard, and it's worth jumping on the 112 tram for.
Pearl Oyster | 114 Miller Street in Thornbury
Editor's note: As you know, we love breakfast here at The Urban List, but we are also major fans of lunch and dinner too. Here's a link to our hit-list of Melbourne's 11 best restaurants for vegetarians, and to our round-up of Melbourne's best vego dishes—that should cover all of your eating needs!
Main Image Credit: Inked in Colour