With a café culture that’s second to none, Melbourne’s coffee game goes far beyond pastries, cakes and roasted beans. These brunch barons are constantly pushing the envelope. Every month, buzzy new spots open on every corner of the city – from nostalgic neighbourhood gems to daring fusion diners. We’ll be keeping an eye throughout the year to bring you the best of the bunch. So drum roll please... these slick new openings are the ones to watch.
Providing a breath of fresh air to our brunch routine is Kissaten, where you’ll find Japanese-inflected takes on brunch staples like salmon benedicts drizzled with miso hollandaise and pancakes filled with red bean paste. Located in leafy Alphington, you’ll find a sun-soaked room sporting a dog-friendly courtyard from which locals sip cups of steamy genmaicha tea and dig into bowls of breakfast ramen, a hearty bowl topped with pork sausage, roast tomato, oyster mushrooms and a fried egg.
538-540 Heidelberg Road, Alphington
With time on the pans at Grub, and Supernormal under his belt, chef Scott Blomfield has turned his sights to something simpler – the humble pie. But we’re not just talking any old mince pies, rather innovative spins like Thai red curry, vegan pumpkin and tofu cheddar, plus a wild (and wildly delicious) lasagne number that layers bolognese, bechamel and cheese inside a flaky casing. To drink, they’re serving Code Black coffee, milkshakes and nostalgia-inducing cups of hot or cold Milo.
297 Barkly Street, Footscray
The inner west scores itself a new vegan café in Lisica, a bright and buzzy spot that’s all about balance – for every virtuous blue spirulina smoothie or quinoa bowl, there’s decadent cookies and cream mud cake or crispy “chicken” burger. They’re experts in creating plant-based versions of café classics with dishes like Spanish baked tofu and pink pitaya pancakes, washed down with a healthy green smoothie or apple and ginger juice.
7/45 Edgewater Boulevard, Maribyrnong
Enjoy lunch courtesy of the next generation of kitchen talent at this West Melbourne café staffed by local hospitality students. In exchange for offering them hands-on experience, you’ll be treated to a bountiful all-day menu that includes brioche french toast with caramelized banana, mascarpone and rum-raisin sauce, Cape Grim beef burgers and daily changing toasties, soups and salads. While you’re asked for your feedback and patience, we guarantee you won’t need any of the latter – these stellar students are unfailingly attentive.
39/617-643 Spencer Street, West Melbourne
As bread supplier to top restaurants including Attica, Cutler & Co and Di Stasio, Baker Bleu’s highly sought-after loaves usually sell out well before noon. To meet their soaring demand, Mike and Mia Russell have expanded to a new location that’s seven times as big as the original – that means more of their chewy sourdough loaves, crusty baguettes, bagels and ciabattas, plus new pastries like sourdough croissants to be enjoyed with Market Lane filter coffee.
119-121 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North
Prepare to see the humble crumpet in a whole new light thanks to this new CBD café devoted to the stuff. Fluffy and flavourful, this sweet little eatery’s sourdough crumpets use local grains to make freshly milled stone-ground flour that’s then fermented in a process that takes 24 hours from start to finish. Enjoy these baked delights simply slathered in a range of honeys including orange blossom and bloodwood, or with more luxurious additions such as maple and coffee peanut butter, smoked butter and grilled taleggio or a s’mores-inspired number that tops a chocolate crumpet with graham crackers and torched marshmallow.
5 Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Oasis lovers rejoice – Murrumbeena’s beloved Middle Eastern grocer-bakery-café has expanded, opening up a modern mega venue in Fairfield that fits 170 hungry diners from morning to night. They’re still serving all the favourites, from orange blossom hotcakes with honey labneh to plates of hot, crispy falafel and belly-warming shakshuka, except now, they’re also offering table service and all-day wine service, with drops from both Victoria and Lebanon to go with your shawarma.
92-96 Station Street, Fairfield
Opening a stone’s throw from Hampton Beach is Paperboy, a bright and airy new spot for nourishing brunches, loaded bagels and rousing Proud Mary coffee. People watch from the window seats or grab a street-side table as you get around options like ancient grain and barberry salad, zucchini baba ganoush or bagels stuffed with Cumberland sausage, egg and caramelised onions. Even the kids menu looks enticing when they’re offering puffed buckwheat and brown rice bubbles in Mörk chocolate milk.
370 Hampton Street, Hampton
This European-style café may be little but it packs a punch, waking up train commuters and Footscray Market-goers each morning with robust A Plus coffee and quick meals. A sibling venue to Seddon’s much-loved Common Galaxia, Little Common does a brisk takeaway business but if you’re keen to settle in, there are bar stools and street-side tables from where you can enjoy the short-but-sweet menu of bagels, toasties, pastries and signature puff-pastry egg cups.
228 Irving Street, Footscray
Have breakfast with a side of warm fuzzies at this new social enterprise café, where you’ll be served Wood and Co coffee, hearty soups and delicious vegan jaffles by at risk youth-turned-aspiring hospo guns. Operating out of a sleekly converted shipping container, the team is using wholesome, biodynamic ingredients in banging jaffles such as cauliflower cheese, nutella and banana, and ‘sausage’ with sauerkraut and hash brown. Scoffing one of these satisfying sangas while helping young Melburnians make a better life – that’s a cause we can definitely get behind.
University of Melbourne, 1 Monash Rd, Parkville
This petite new café in Hawthorn East is making waves with their pitch perfect coffee, old school jaffles and rustic homemade sweets. Named after the owner’s grandfather, Nigel may look like a modern animal with its clean lines and abstract lighting feature, but on the plate it’s all about familiar comforts, from the ham, cheese and chutney jaffles to the raspberry and coconut tea cakes. Coffee is by St Ali, available in a variety of single origins and blends for the bean aficionados.
691 Burke Road, Hawthorn East
At this bright and buzzy new café, they’re adding a dash of fun to the classics. Eggs bennies come topped with tempura soft shell crab or gochujang-dressed pork belly, while panna cotta is spiked with the earthiness of matcha. Clearly not taking itself too seriously, it’s the kind of place where you can order shrimp gyoza, egg roti, bruschetta and a jalapeño tortilla in one breath, and all the more enjoyable for it. The décor is similarly colourful, filled with indoor greenery, pink walls and neon feature lighting that’s super Instagram-friendly.
642 Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
With heavy-hitting institutions like Higher Ground, Kettle Black and Top Paddock under their belt, Mulberry Group’s newest café was always going to be ambitious. Located in the foyer of the historic art deco T&G Building, Liminal is a vision of curved leather couches, marble tabletops and brass detailing. As expected, the menu elevates café fare to restaurant levels of sophistication: fruit toast is topped with strawberries, fig and stracciatella, toasties hug mozzarella, sage and white anchovy, and where else could you expect a boudin noir, fried egg and parsley salad at 7am? If that wasn’t enough, the sprawling space also comprises a wine shop, takeaway deli, produce store and event space.
161 Collins St, Melbourne
Putting Fairfield on the map is Outer Circle Social Club, an airy loft-style café run by some of the most jovial folk in town. They’re serving trend-aware, flavour-forward updates on the staples, from fruit toast with lemony ricotta and cinnamon pear to burnt butter gnocchi topped with bacon and a poached egg. Come lunchtime, they fire up the smoker to make deliciously charred brisket, pork shoulder and veggies for stuffing in wraps, rolls and sandwiches. Those with dietaries will also appreciate that the menu is helpfully marked out with symbols for vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes.
1/299 Arthur St, Fairfield
Korean street food meets Melbourne café culture at Dari, a quirky new spot in Hardware Lane that’s introducing diners to novel flavours. Here you can try bulgogi baguettes, potato salad buns and bbang – a Korean savoury muffin that contains a whole egg inside. However, the fun really begins on the drinks and dessert menu, with options like pumpkin pie or sweet potato walnut lattes, toasted grain shakes and rice cake tiramisu.
27-29 Hardware Ln, Melbourne
Tacked onto the front of a co-working office, this inviting new café is fuelling freelancers, start-up whizzes and the public alike. Warm, relaxed and with large front windows that allow plenty of sunlight to stream in, the menu has a focus on wholesome, feelgood food. Expect lots of green bowls, fruit-topped açai and colourful salads, best enjoyed at one of their street facing windows with a pitch perfect latte.
105 Wellington St, St Kilda
The team behind established cafés Bentwood, Stanley and Tinker have opened their latest project, an understated but overachieving café in Malvern. Whitewashed walls and furniture evoke seaside-meets-Scandi vibes, while the extensive menu covers everything from healthy goji porridges and kale-laden breakfast bowls to blowout fried chicken waffles and brûlée french toast. Winter is already proving popular with locals, so on weekends we’d recommend hopping over early.
1E Winter St, Malvern
With his new small-batch bakery in Footscray, Wilhelm Isaac adds eight years’ experience at the esteemed Woodfrog Bakery and his French heritage to create carby magic. Each day he’s selling out of intensely-flavoured sourdough loaves, lush olive bread, flaky almond croissants and glossy palmiers. When it comes to early morning pleasures in this neck of the woods, it’s hard not to drop by Gordon Street, order a coffee and scoff down a still-hot pastry fresh from the oven.
63 Gordon St, Footscray
The trend of reviving old milk bars continues at full throttle with the opening of this peppy new café in Mitcham. While it may still have a lolly counter out the front selling dollar pop rocks and a freezer filled with Bubble-O-Bill’s, everything else here lives firmly in the 21st century. Expect lots of smoothie bowls in every colour from pink pitaya to blue spirulina, plus well-balanced dishes full of crunchy fresh veg and inspired additions like peking duck.
544 Mitcham Rd, Mitcham
Photo Credit - Saint Dreux
Specialising in Japanese katsu sandos, this futuristic-looking sandwich bar creates picture-perfect, crustless works of art that have become an instant hit on Instagram. You’ll find their sleek fitout on the top floor of luxe shopping arcade St Collins Lane, where they’re serving Acoffee espresso, flaky croissants and hot, crunchy, made-to-order sandos in varieties including pork, prawn and an indulgent $28 wagyu number that’s not shy on marbling.
Level 2, 260 Collins St, Melbourne
Photo Credit - Photo Credit Peter Tarasiuk
A decade of non-stop queues, thousands of lobster benedicts and a branch in Paris later, Melbourne brunch institution Hardware Société has finally moved to bigger premises. Lush with salmon pinks, deep greens and marble pendant lights, their new digs in Katherine Place also opens on Friday nights for spritzes and bar snacks. Come sundown, novel bites like jamon manchego croquettes and savoury choux will be calling your name, but if you head there during the day, the chorizo baked eggs are the best thing on the menu.
10 Katherine Pl, Melbourne
This pastel-hued café on Lygon Street serves zesty dishes sprinkled with Asian and Middle Eastern flavours – think vegan tofu scrambles with fresh chilli, mint and coriander, or harissa-spiced portobello mushrooms atop your bacon and eggs. In the evening, from Thursday to Sunday, they transform into a dessert café, spinning OTT sweet treats like matcha cheesecake and honeycomb waffles until 10pm.
46 Lygon St, Brunswick East
This generous big-hearted café is so worth travelling for, even if you don’t live in the outer north. Run by two local boys with a keen eye for coffee, they roast their beans onsite and serve up an array of vibrant dishes – think sesame falafels with sweet potato hummus and smoked shakshuka with eggplant, okra, goats curd and sumac. Drink options stretch from Turkish tea to mojito mocktails, but don’t forget to save space for their devilish French toast with espresso cream, maple rashers, frosted pecans and ice cream.
5/1100 Pascoe Vale Rd, Broadmeadows
Up your lunch game at Namoo – a cute and cosy inner-city café serving homestyle Japanese fare. Start with a snack plate of gyoza, tuna tartare or nasu dengaku (crisp fried eggplant with miso glaze), before moving onto spicy tiger prawns, soba noodle salad or tofu curry don. On colder days, we’d heartily recommend switching out your coffee for the earthy, nutty pleasure of a hot matcha or houjicha latte.
167 Queen St, Melbourne
Located in the heart of Carlton’s main strip, newly-opened Freddo Café is perfect for leisurely Sunday brunches. They’re giving the classics a novel touch, from eggs benny with orange-infused pork belly to savoury crepes brimming with goats’ cheese and prosciutto. We’re also loving their dedicated dessert menu – you can get any flavour combination in the form of a crêpe, waffle or pancake. Look forward to lashings of raspberry, rhubarb and mascarpone or the s’mores-inspired mix of marshmallow, biscuit crumble, Nutella and whipped cream. Share if you dare.
275 Lygon St, Carlton
Have breakfast Colombian-style at this colourful CBD café, where they serve ‘arepas’ – a traditional corn flatbread that’s a staple in Latin America. Eat it simply filled with melty mozzarella or grilled and topped with your choice of bacon, eggs, avo and feta. If you’re dropping in for lunch, there’s everything from light and fresh prawn ceviche on crisp green plantains to saucy pork spare ribs slow cooked in sugarcane.
118 Queen St, Melbourne
In the short time they’ve been open this pocket-sized bagel shop has become a firm favourite with nearby office workers, for their strong coffee and bouncy bagels. They’re available any way you like – be it toasted open and topped with avo, feta, pickled chilli and sumac, in a sandwich filled with pastrami, or simply smeared with lashings of indulgent cream cheese.
Rear 53-57 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
At their second location in Greensborough, Infuse with the delicious flavour-packed fusions they’re known for. There’s a breakfast bonza that stuffs five spiced roast pork belly, sriracha, slaw, crackling and fried egg inside a warm croissant, or wholesome Thai salmon, zucchini and corn fritters dressed in tangy green chilli dressing. With coffee by lauded Canberra roasters ONA and fluffy Japanese-style souffle pancakes for sweet tooths, there are plenty of reasons to return again and again.
91 Grimshaw St, Greensborough
New kid on the Highett block, Sons of Mischief is a health-conscious eatery, with a menu inspired by colourful and delicious dishes with Middle Eastern influences. Our pick: up your brekkie game with their hemp granola with sumptuous saffron poached baby pears and cinnamon co-yo. Just in case you need another reason to love these guys, every last Sunday of each month they donate 15% of profits well deserving charities.
326 Highett Road, Highett
For something a little different, try Japanese café fare at this adorably cosy spot down in Docklands. The helpful pictogram menu presents snacks including onigiri (pressed rice balls), katsu sandos and corn cheese spring rolls. For the super hungry there are also larger dishes such as tofu udon salad and rice bowls topped with soft pork belly, all washed down with a matcha latte or yuzu fizz.
103/673 Latrobe St, Docklands
Hearts broke last year when beloved Brunswick East café Pope Joan closed after their eight-year reign serving modern British deliciousness. In a surprise twist, they’ve been resurrected in the old Mayfair site as a pop-up until April, with potential for something more permanent. So if you’ve been missing their signature Reubens, now’s your chance to get your fix.
45 Collins Street, Melbourne
Hot days call for cold gelato, and this new spot in Brunswick is making waves with its light and moreish scoops. Bico’s father and son team honed their craft in Bologna before setting up shop here, and their craft shines especially bright in fresh, fruit-based flavours such as lemon, mango and pineapple.
288 Albert Street, Brunswick
Time and Place’s huge windows grace the room with plenty of natural light during the day, though you can also opt to sit outside and absorb vitamin D as you brunch on nourishing dishes like falafel waffles with tahini yoghurt, avo, zhug, pickled red cabbage and a fried egg.
929 Centre Road, Bentleigh East
Exotic homewares store Zoobibi has opened an in-house café, serving dishes as globally-inspired as their showrooms. Enjoy Persian baked eggs, Turkish simit with sujuk or chickpea fatteh salad from their light-filled indoor courtyard that’s modelled on the riads of Marrakech.
646 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East
The bowl trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2019, a fact that Bowls Baby is tapping into with their range of colourful, wholesome and nourishing bowls. For breakfast there’s scoopable acai and frozen fruit smoothies topped with healthy yoghurt, seeds and granola, while for lunch you can build your own or choose from options like the Hoke Poke, packed with veggies, salmon, and pickled ginger dressing over brown rice.
35 Rose Street, Essendon
For pastries with a side of whimsy, pop into this all-vegan bakehouse that’s perfected a plant-based butter made from macadamia, cashew and coconut oil. That means perfect flaky crusts on croissants, which also come in wacky varieties such as a cronnoli (a croissant-cannoli mashup), a vegan ‘ham and cheese’ number and in cube form. They also do pumpkin spiced lattes and ice creams in flavours ranging from strawberry to salted caramel to sweet potato.
241 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Carlton’s iconic Italian deli and grocer has reopened, adding a modern all-day espresso bar that services your every need, from coffee and freshly baked pastries in the morning to panini and pasta for lunch and spritzes and cicchetti at night. Our new favourite thing to do is grab one of their outward-facing window seats and watch as the endless activity of Lygon Street passes by.
293–297 Lygon St, Carlton
The brothers behind Vacation, Touchwood and Pillar of Salt have brought their magic touch to Brunswick, opening a light-filled café serving colourful, healthy and wholesome meals. Feel good while you feast on buckwheat pancakes with raw cacao pudding, crushed berries and granola or a brown rice bowl dressed in amino acid and miso. If you’re feeling a little cheeky they’ve got your back too, with cold brew martinis and Aperol Spritzes on offer if you choose to forgo that green juice.
589 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Word has already travelled far about this new CBD café’s signature offering – the ‘tradie slammer’ bravely sandwiches a full pie in between brioche buns and caramelised onion chutney. Even if your appetite doesn’t stretch quite so far, there’s plenty to love on the menu, including vibrant salads, decadent sweet pastries, oozy toasties, and of course, their full range of pies, encasing everything from humble beef to fancy confit duck with parsnip, honey and coffee jus.
18 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Drawing inspiration from their travels, the owners of Oppen have created a café with Nordic chic both in the décor and on the plate. Sit in an elegant, open space full of warm light and dusky pinks while enjoying wholesome, Scandi-inflected dishes like open rye sandwiches topped with pork liver pate and lingonberry ketchup or spelt granola with Icelandic skyr and sour cherry foam.
20/2 Maddock St, Windsor