For those who are coeliac or gluten intolerant, eating out can be a bit of a bore. More often than not, you’ll be stuck analysing menus or settling for a sad salad when there are no safe alternative options. Luckily, Melbourne’s buzzing food scene has made leaps and bounds in recent years, and now offers an array of glittering gluten-free options that are as delicious as they are wholesome. Next time you’re seeking out a brunch spot, hit up one of these top-notch gluten-free cafés. We guarantee you won’t regret it.
A leisurely brunch at Fourth Chapter is endlessly pleasing, from the myriad plants injecting green into the whitewashed cafe to their gorgeously-plated GF dishes. Favourites include baked apple and pecan crumble served with vanilla labneh, or their beetroot cheddar waffles accompanied by grilled salmon and avo. Even their drinks skew a little fancy – try a kombucha spider or peanut butter cup smoothie with almond milk chia.
385 High St, Prahran
Go straight from restorative massage to nourishing meal at Market on Malvern, a sun-dappled cafe integrated into the BeingWell Healthcare clinic. Their nutritionists have designed a menu full of gluten-free, dairy-free and FODMAP-friendly dishes, from silky chai porridge made with coconut milk, red quinoa and black wild rice to okonomiyaki with organic tofu and kombucha mayo.
388 Malvern Rd, Prahran
This snug laneway cafe has been making weekday lunches a breeze since time immemorial, offering gluten-free, healthy and satisfying meals for busy city workers. Pick up a box of superfood salad bulked up with a wedge of grassfed meatloaf or sit in for hearty baked eggs served with roast veggies and pumpkin bread.
275 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Packing as much personality as it does flavour, Monk Bodhi Dharma plates up some of the most creative vegetarian fare in town, while almost every dish is GF or GFO. Pull up a milk crate for internationally-inspired dishes such as zucchini mint hotcakes sparked with beetroot relish, pickled cucumber and chilli almond feta or umami mixed mushrooms on pumpkin polenta bread.
202 Carlisle St, Balaclava
No need to eagle-eye the menu or triple check with the waiter here – Henkel’s the first completely gluten-free cafe to be accredited by Coeliac Australia so you can order in confidence. Find well executed versions of all the faves you’ve been deprived of, from eggs bennies to French toast with sticky date and pecan ice cream.
102 Henkel St, Brunswick
Sourcing organic, local ingredients (including from the veggie patch out back), Pomona’s plating up creative gluten-free meals that don’t swap out health credentials for taste. Opt for either spelt bread, which is easier to digest than wheat, or completely GF multigrain on any dish. Spy creamy scrambled eggs sprinkled with pine nuts, hotcakes lashed with labneh and spice honey, and braised beef cheeks with pumpkin mash and zingy salsa verde.
474 Murray Rd, Preston
They may be organic, raw, vegan and gluten-free, but believe us, these desserts unashamedly decadent. From lemon mousse tarts and black forest cakes, to apple crumbles and cherry ripe slices – these treats get creaminess from cashews and sweetness from medjool dates, so your afternoon treats pack a nutritional punch too.
10 Sutherland St, Melbourne
This GF mecca is well worth the trek for their bakery alone, which offers Turkish rolls, buckwheat loaves, fruit bread, hot cross buns and even pizza bases to take home. If you’ve got a little time, warm yourself up from the inside with their black rice and coconut cream porridge with stewed rhubarb and cloves, or bite into their juicy mushroom and buffalo halloumi burger for lunch.
197 Upper Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe
Housed in a refurbished electrical warehouse, this all-day diner transforms seamlessly from buzzy café during the day to sleek restaurant at night. Everything’s vegetarian and there’s a ton of GF and GFO dishes marked clearly on the menu. Without falling back on mock meats, the kitchen imaginatively highlights the potential of veg in dishes like crispy chickpea panisse dusted with truffle salt, and cumin braised eggplant with chermoula, smoked labneh, quinoa crisps and mint.
99 Rose St, Fitzroy
Laidback, wholesome veganism is the order of the day at this Abbotsford favourite, where they make all their pickles, preserves, (almond) feta and baked treats in-house. Grab a window seat and people watch as you tuck into gluten-free winners like coconut crepes with candied sweet potato and sesame ice cream or a hearty ‘Aztec soup’ served with a side of crispy tortilla.
325 Johnston St, Abbotsford