Top 3 Spots for Brunch in Melbourne (Fitzroy & Collingwood)
One of the first things I noticed upon wandering the neighbouring districts of Fitzroy and Collingwood (besides their clear love of spray-paint cans) was that these guys love to eat. Even more excitingly, they seem to love eating my favourite meal of the day: brunch. Here are my three favourite pit stops.
11-13 Johnston Street, Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia
Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm / Saturday & Sunday 8am to 4pm
The sight of Alf Stewart’s wasp-chewing grimace staring back at you from the mural over the road is the only scare you’ll encounter at Terror Twilight. A true local favourite, you’ll find this effortlessly hip and healthy hangout serving up “nice people, great coffee, food & cocktails”, as proudly proclaimed on the sign above the door (no false advertising here).
I could have sat there all day, and I nearly did – nothing to do with the service, mind. It’s just got that real cosy, laid-back vibe with the décor to match: think understated retro-chic. Terracotta floor tiles, wood panelling, a pastel-pink espresso machine, vintage stools and an impressive vinyl collection (plus the turntable to boot) meet matt grey brickwork and gleaming brass mirrors – all set off with tumbling tendrils of foliage cascading down the walls.
As their friendly staff spin the tunes, it’s so easy to watch the world go by whilst chowing down on a delicious acai bowl with coyo (that’s coconut yoghurt, to you and me) with granola, peanut butter and strawberries. Or maybe you’d prefer the smashed avocado on multigrain with salsa verde and toasted seeds. Or perhaps one of their delectable cupcakes (the honey one with orange butter cream really hit the sweet spot).
But my personal favourite? The mushroom and halloumi breakfast bap. So good I had it twice – and that’s saying something, coming from a diehard carnivore. Top marks just for getting me to even consider going veggie; truly a miracle in itself.
358 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
Tuesday to Sunday 7am to 6pm (closed on Mondays)
This lovely little ramshackle café/bakery is known for dishing out staple fare with a Russian twist. A quick browse of the specials board revealed such delicacies as borsch (its traditional Russian beetroot soup served with sour cream); grilled kransky (a sausage made from veal and pork) and sauerkraut in a brioches bun; and Siberian lamb pelmeni (poached dumplings served with spicy soy and silverbeet broth). But as I wandered past the cabinet of curiosities filled with brightly painted Russian dolls, I only wanted one thing: a full English. And Babka delivered the best full English I’ve ever had.
The bacon was perfectly grilled and tasted like this little piggy had been hand-reared on mountain dew and caviar. The fresh avocado was delicately sliced and fanned into a beautiful display. The tomato, bursting with flavour, was nearly as big as my head. And the generous, buttery mound of scrambled eggs must have been laid by the golden goose. I’m also happy to report there were no snails in the escargots (presumably just a reference to the pain aux raisins’ shell-like swirl) and zero flies on the shoo-fly currant buns.
Be sure to arrive early – it gets pretty packed out in here and the service becomes a little leisurely as a result. But as long as you haven’t got a plane to catch, trust me – this grub is definitely worth the wait.
93 Moor Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am to 4pm
Concrete and greenery abounds in this chic and spacious sanctuary. Offering welcome respite from February’s merciless and rather unseasonal heatwave, we were delighted to find a comprehensive range of breakfast beauties on the menu. Plus there’s a handy QR code that you can scan to see photos of each dish, taking all the guesswork out of the decision making. Genius!
But a word of warning: pace yourself – portions can be unexpectedly large. One friend in our party could barely finish the bircher muesli with rhubarb and mixed-berry compote she’d ordered – only to be confronted with a wedge of fruit toast that was as thick as a brick! Needless to say, she’d have been more than satisfied with just the one.
The cacao pancakes were another big hit – smothered with banana butter, mango curd, toasted coconut flakes, seasonal berries and lime-coconut minted gelato, topped off with chocolate chard. But I went for the superb green chilli scrambled eggs with Spanish pesto, manchego cheese, caramelised onions, cherry tomatoes and bacon. And yes – it does taste as good as it sounds.
The dishes were as much a feast for the eyes as they were for the stomach, too – this was definitely the place that got all the foodies in the group whipping out their iPhones for Instagram. Each one was a work of art, with pretty garnishes and dustings and colour-popping dots and swirls of sauce. And once you’ve finished up, there’s the added bonus of a beautiful adjoining stationery shop for a bit of post-brunch browsing.