In the second part of our brunch series, we tackle the culinary and cultural mecca that is Melbourne. While Victoria's capital is literally overflowing with fantastic coffee joints, adventurous chefs and tucked-away venues, when it came to narrowing down a top five - we can freely admit this - it was hard. While we've waxed lyrical about The Kettle Black before, other staples worthy of mention included Northcote's Barry, Fitzroy favourite Archie's all Day, The Premises in Kensington. So even though we know this list is contentious and by no means exhaustive, here is our round up of the five best Melbourne brunch spots currently on offer.
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1. Top Paddock, Richmond
While there are myriad Melbourne places to start from, this Richmond joint holds a place in our hearts for its amazing specials menu. Sure, the fixed menu is killer, with a bircher muesli that's as close to culinary work of art as you can find, but pay close attention to what's specially on offer and you'll hit a real winner. With a sleek and spacious timber-and-white-tile fit out, you can settle by the bar or relax at one of the tables until the afternoon - yep, the menu runs until 3pm. We love a place that gives a sleep in option.
658 Church St, Richmond, toppaddockcafe.com
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2. Tall Timbers, Prahran
The owners of this joint run two other cafes in Melbourne (Coin Laundry and Station Street Trading Co.), so it's safe to assume they know what they're doing. Don't be fooled by the quaint country-style setting though - the folks from Tall Timbers expertly dish up delicious fare such as sautéed kale, asparagus and green beans, served with poached eggs, almonds, quinoa loaf and goats curd. Not drooling yet? Perhaps you'd like to try some heartier fare such as the Timber Benedict, all slow cooked pork shoulder, poached eggs and apple cider hollandaise. But be warned, the rest of Melbourne are already in on the secret and you may wait up to an hour wait for a seat. It's well worth it, though.
60 Commercial Rd, Prahran, facebook.com/pages/Tall-Timber
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3. Mixed Business, Clifton Hill
This white and airy space not only features some seriously cool rustic light fittings, it houses a great courtyard perfect for chilling on a Saturday or Sunday morning. With a super-welcoming vibe that's by no means too-for-school, choose from favourites like poached eggs with potato and rosemary rosti, avocado and house relish; or the brown rice, tuna and broccoli salad from the lunch menu (it comes with a poached egg and gets our health-conscious tick of approval).
486 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill, mixedbusinesscafe.com
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4. Auction Rooms, North Melbourne
Known for serving up an amazing cup of coffee, that's not all this industrial space has to offer. There's a delicious bunch of brunch options - from fresh fruit salad to decadent brûlée French toast with crispy pancetta, poached rhubarb and glazed strawberries, or even corned beef brisket with potato hash, poached eggs and shredded cabbage and leek. Thanks to an ever-changing menu that satisfies sweet tooths and carnivores alike, and its selection of espresso, iced and filter coffees - Auction Rooms is easily one of the best pick-me-up spots this side of the CBD.
103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne, auctionroomscafe.com.au
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5. Hammer and Tong 412, Fitzroy
If you're a shopper looking for a spot of brunch during your travels along Brunswick Street - look no further. Boasting friendly staff who are clearly proud as punch to work for a café that dabbles in (and yes, pulls off) food experimentation, Hammer and Tong 412 is small, but packs serious brunch-time punch. Think: lavender yoghurt custard with a mix of fresh and dehydrated fruit and salt and pepper French toast. If you're feeling really adventurous, don't overlook their breakfast ramen - offset by a 62 degree egg, bacon and mushroom, it's both intriguing and delectable.
Rear 412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, hammerandtong.com.au
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