In a city as well known for its world class coffee culture and cultural cutting edge as Melbourne (sorry Sydney), coming up with a concise list of “must try” café’s is a tricky task – one that requires as much care and thought as the craftsmanship of this town’s bearded barista’s themselves! While cafes in other Australian cities tend to be focused on al fresco dining with water views to boot, Melbourne’s famously temperamental climate and cold winters means cosy, introspective spaces where you can enjoy a quiet chat with close friends have flourished on its busy high streets and cobblestoned. Immerse yourself in these 5 must try cafes to try in Melbourne:
650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
With a cavernous, award winning interior and a menu that “blurs the lines”; Higher Ground is a café and dining space with lofty ambitions to become a destination for foodies in its own right. Thanks to its impeccable service and impeccably presented dishes (this is definitely one for Instagram) Higher Ground is well on its way to achieving that goal. As for the menu itself, expect all the usual brekkie and brunch favourites like Fruit & Yoghurt Bowls ($16.00), Kale & Cauliflowers Salads ($18.50) and Filtered Coffee ($4-7) to wash it all down.
“Super huge space for brunch. Famous for the ricotta pancake. I went there on weekend, and needed to wait 45 mins to get table. But the service was great, they not rush people inside to go out even they have a lot of waiting people. The place is pretty. I ordered the ricotta pancake and is super big, I can’t finish it by myself. Overall is one of my fav brunch place in Melbourne.”
3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy
Nestled on a vibrant Fitzroy back street in the heart of Melbourne’s “latte belt” is Industry Beans, a local institution in the city’s speciality coffee scene, with an award winning warehouse conversion building to boot. Since its founding in 2010, Industry Beans has grown to encompass a popular café, a busy speciality roaster (which supplies the beans to other cafes around Melbourne) and an online store selling basic café supplies. Come for their stylish interior and funky inner city vibe, whilst indulging in their decadent brunch menu and exotic coffee list that will transport you away from the daily grind!
“What a brilliant little spot! Hidden away, I would have never found it without being told about it. If you are in the area, you should certainly get on in and give it a try. A very modern, upcycled type of cafe with amazing coffee! And they roast their own beans there right in front of you :)”
281 Little Collins St, Melbourne
If there’s one thing Melbourne café’s do particularly well, apart from the coffee itself, it would have to be their knack for fitting a fully functioning social space into the most unlikely of locations. In the case of Sensory Lab, that involves turning what was once a narrow loading bay for the city’s iconic David Jones department store into the home for their growing coffee equipment/barista training/café empire. Since first opening in this space, Sensory Labs have branched out to other spots around inner Melbourne where guests can enjoy delightfully simple yet sensory coffee at fair prices (starting at $4.00 a cup).
“I was walking passed not having heard of this place but thought, why not. Ok so the coffee was good. Nice taste. Nice aroma. Right temperature. And the price was what I expected – above the non CBD average but common in Melbourne.”
35 Albert Rd, Melbourne
Taking up residence on the ground floor of Emerald Apartment building on Albert Road, just a hop and a skip from Melbourne’s leafy St Kilda Boulevard and Royal Botanic Gardens is The Crux & Co, a 110 seat café and patisserie with a welcome twist. Sure, you can find all the decadent brunch goodies you’d expect right here, like Matcha Pancakes ($20.00) and Maple Toasted Granola ($15.00), but they’re also balanced out with some unexpected Korean flavours like their Chicken Katsu Wraps ($10.50) and Ahi Poke Bowl ($22.50).
“The Crux & Co is a modern and inviting decorated cafe. The staff were very attentive and were friendly. As soon as we sat down, they asked to take our drinks orders. The food fresh and tasty. They also specialise in cakes and desserts”.
254-256 Wingrove St, Fairfield
Convenience and great coffee are the order of the day at Two Fat Monks, a large café/casual dining bistro located across the road from Fairfield railway station in the gentrified Melbourne neighbourhood of the same name. With a generous menu covering Artisan Bircher Muesli ($16.00) or Farm Yard Eggs ($21.00) for brekkie and Single Origin Coffee at $4.00 a pop, Two Fat Monks will satisfy your tastebuds as you admire its swish, architecturally-designed interior.
“This cafe is open to all, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, even alcoholic beverages for those in need. Upon entry you can smell the beautiful aroma of nutty coffee and your eyes are met with a modern, spacious dining area with private booths as well as open tables that deliver fantastic lighting. The interior of this place is quite industrial/mid-century modern which I love love love!”