If I had to choose one meal that I am allowed to have it would most definitely be brunch.
It tends to be more indulgent than breakfast and you can even slip a cheeky cocktail into it. The country that knows how to do brunch, in my very biased opinion, is Australia: inspiring menus, great coffee, generous portion sizes and friendly atmosphere is what the below places have in common.
Hammer and Tong
Hammer and Tong in Fitzroy are based in a quirky space and if you are lucky enough you can sit by the kitchen island and watch the chefs at work. Their menu offers some great choices but since developing a worrying addiction to corn fritters I cannot get enough of them and I was highly recommended the ones at Hammer and Tong by fellow food bloggers. Having tried the corn and zucchini fritters with avocado and poached egg followed by a Colombian single origin coffee made in an aeropress I understood why people were so impressed by the beautiful flavours. So I am sending the message out there: try them for yourself! There are other great choices on the menu: opt for a bircher muesli if you fancy a big bowl of goodness.
Seasonal menu, locally sourced ingredients and inventive coffee drinks: if that is not a recipe for a great brunch then I don’t know what is. Especially that Industry Beans do all of the above very well. There are some great dishes on the food menu but, equally, the coffee list is rather impressive and filled with science-inspired creations. Ever tried latte pearls? No? You don’t know what you’re missing!
St Ali South
On a weekend morning in Melbourne one thing is certain: everyone is out having brunch in one of the cool coffee shops around. ST ALi is one of those places and even if you get there early you will probably have to wait in a queue. Not to worry though as these guys are used to crowds and have a very organised system which will see you seated as soon as a table is free. It is always worth the wait especially if you are after an exceptional coffee with your brekkie. Innovative daily specials will leave you satisfied but do not worry if you none of them tickle your fancy as there are always corn fritters to keep you happy. (I told you, it is an addiction!)
Auction Rooms have won the Melbourne’s Best Café in 2013 and it is quite obvious why. They are based in an old auction house which looks slightly derelict from the outside but hosts a beautiful space inside. The café is full of natural light and the exposed brickwork gives it a relaxed feel. The layout with smaller rooms adjacent to the main one provides enough space to fit a lot of people without losing the intimacy of finding your own corner. Great menu and fabulous Small Batch coffee complete the experience and leave you smiling.
Proud Mary’s menu will leave you deliberating and changing your mind a few times before deciding that you will have one dish but have to come back to try the other next week. Go for the smashed avocado, grainy bread, charred corn, quinoa and tabbouleh to start with and you will not regret it. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable without sounding too geeky. The place is quirky and uber cool; ask them for a WiFi password and you will see what I mean.