15 Special Melbourne Cafes You Got To Go (Beginner’s Guide)

April 04, 2014

Melbourne is famous for it’s café culture scene. The city streets are abuzz with endless cafes and restaurants. Walk into any cafe and you will be greeted with serious barista working magic on their coffee. For this trip, I am very blessed to have many friends in Melbourne bringing me to the best cafes in the city. My highest record is to visit 4 cafes in a day and tried 4 cups of cappuccino. Don’t worry, I slept very well and early that night. So here I present to you 15 must visit cafes in Melbourne, this is not the most comprehensive list but I hope it serves as a beginner’s guide for first time travelers like me. Now I really wish to move to Melbourne!

Melbourne Cafes
Melbourne Cafes
Melbourne Cafes

1. Dead Man Espresso

My first coffee in Melbourne is Dead Man Espresso. Ewen picked me up from the airport and we drove there immediately. Located in a quiet corner in South Melbourne, Dead Man Espresso is a sleek cafe run by industry pros. They use a special Dead Man Espresso blend specially made for them by Seven Seeds.

The menu is seasonal and feature herbs and veggies grown in their rooftop garden. I had the Rosti with poached egg avocado and salmon. I let the yolk run through the sandwich and it made for a tasty breakfast sandwich. Cappuccino here is so smooth and silky. Grab a spot in their balcony and watch the world goes by.

Address: 35 Market St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205
Tel: +61 (03) 9686 2255
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 4pm; Sat to Sun 8am – 4pm
Website: www.deadmanespresso.com.au

2. Auction Room

Housed in the old WB Ellis auction house along Errol Street in North Melbourne, Auction Room is a coffee roastery and cafe. They proudly use Small Batch Roasting Co Specialty Coffee and has a fanciful brunch menu.

Address: 103-107 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9326 7749
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 5pm; Sat to Sun 7:30am – 5pm
Website: www.auctionroomscafe.com.au

Melbourne Cafes: Auction Room
Auction Room's food
Auction Room's coffee

3. St Ali

Trip to St Ali is a memorable one. First, I took the wrong side of the tram. Then, it was raining that day and I didn’t bring my brolly. After alighting at the tram stop 28 mins later, I was walking in the rain for a good 10 mins before I reached the café. Romantic hurhur. Hidden down a laneway in South Melboure, the warehouse styled café is named after Ali ibn Uma al-Shadili, a 14th century mystic who apparently gave birth to coffee passion.

The coffee here is great, and it serves better food than many other cafes, in my opinion. They have changed their menu recently and I tried a plate of gluten-free vegetarian Koo Coo Ca Choo. Crispy potato & buckwheat hash is served with mushroom duxelle, poached eggs, flat mushrooms, aged cheddar & truffle vinaigrette, complex flavours but goes very well altogether. They also have another cafe “St Ali North” with a different menu located at 815 Nicholson St, Carlton North.

Address: 12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9686 2990
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 7am – 6pm
Website: www.stali.com.au

Melbourne Cafes: St Ali
St Ali's coffee

4. Brother Baba Budan

It is always difficult to find good coffee in Melbourne CBD. Many of the good coffee places are located at the suburban. Brother Baba Budan is probably one of the cafe that serves the best coffee in CBD. Operated by the Seven Seeds team, expect to see a crowd in the morning as people take away their coffee for work. There is limited quantity of pastries in the cafe from Brioche by Philip . You can probably skip those if you are not hungry and just go for the coffee. My cappuccino here is creamy and sensational. Not a lot of space here as most people pack and go, but you can definitely sit around the communcal table, read newspaper and enjoy a coffee or two. Don’t forget to look up and take a look at the ceiling as they use chairs as a decor.

Address: 359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9606 0449
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Website: www.sevenseeds.com.au

5. Two Birds One Stone

Very beautiful and huge interior. They use coffee beans from Five Senses and the coffee menu is divided into white and black, which includes drip coffee, aeropress, syphons, pour overs etc. Menu is down to earth and dishes that caught my eyes include Roasted filed mushrooms with meredith fetal (brunch) and Black Angus steak sandwich with bacon and beetroot chutney (dinner). They make their own smoked salmon and ham, and even make their own cakes.

Address: 12 Claremont Street, South Yarra
Tel: +61 (03) 9827 1228
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 4pm; Sat to Sun 8am – 4pm
Website: www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au

Two Birds One Stone cafe interior
Two Birds One Stone's coffee and food.

6. Top Paddock

Beautiful cafe with lots of natural lighting and greenery. Top Paddock comes from the same brains behind Three Bags Full, Two Birds One Stone et al – so the food and coffee is of the same high standard. The cafe uses Five Senses coffee, as well as using green beans and an in-house roaster to create signature blends to match the food.

What’s special here is the soft-shell mud crab in brioche bun which was served with a fennel, dill and lime mayo. If you love fish, can try the kingfish with avocado, fried egg and purple soft tortilla. Health conscious? Try their muesli, salad or oat porridge! P/S there are quite a few eye candies in the cafe!

Address: 658 Church St, Richmond 3121
Tel: +61 (03) 9429 4332
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat & Sun 8am-4pm
Website: www.toppaddockcafe.com

Melbourne Cafes: Top Paddock
Top Paddock's food and coffee
7. Manchester Press

Housed in a former gallery and named after the former printing press business, Manchester Press is a really spacious café. The barista here is really talented in latte art and makes good coffee, another good coffee spot in Melbourne. Their specialty is bagel with many options. As I missed Asian food, I ordered a 14 hour slow roasted Vietnames Pull Pork with asian slaw. It feels comfortable to be enjoying my breakfast and reading newspaper here.

Address: 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9600 4054
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 5pm; Sat 9am – 5pm
Website: www.facebook.com/manchesterpress

Melbourne Cafes: Manchester Press
Manchester Press cafe interior
Manchester Press's coffee
Manchester Press' food
Manchester Press' pastries
More Manchester Press' pastry

8. Chez Dre

After my masterclass ended in Daylesford, Billy drove us to Chez Dre which is located in an alley off South Melbourne market. It is opened by patisserie chef Andrea Reiss, so it means they are very good for cakes! The pastry cabinet has lots of tarts, madeleines, gateaux and macarons that have been made in-house in the open kitchen.

I love their caramel eclair with a crisp choux pastry and a salted caramel cream on top and smooth caramel custard inside. I also love the dome shaped coconut dacquoise with raspberry jelly and lychee mousse. We shared a plate of Glazed Pork Belly with jalepeno and corn polenta cake.

Address: Rear of 285-287 Coventry St, South Melbourne
Tel: +61 3 9690 2688
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Website: www.chezdre.com.au

9. Three Bags Full

One of the favourite brunch places, their new menu is very exciting such as sweet potato and carrot fritters served with a fried egg, goats curd, grilled haloumi, witlof, pomegranate, apple and herb salad. Their coffee uses Five Senses coffee and they also make amazing milkshakes.

Address: 56 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford
Tel: +61 (03) 94212732
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 5pm; Sat to Sun 8am – 5pm
Website: www.threebagsfullcafe.com

Melbourne Cafes: Three Bags Full
Three Bags Full cafe
Three Bags Full's coffee and food
More food from Three Bags Full cafe

10. Hardware Societe

An electrical fire broke out in a neighbouring business late last year and the café was forced to shut its doors for a few months and undergo a revamp. Now the new Hardware Societe is bright and cherry with pastry cabinet full of macarons, biscuits and corissants.

If you wanna drop by Hardware Societe, my suggestion to you is come early. We reached punctually on their opening time and there was already 2 to 3 tables filled. After finishing our breakfast, the café is full! The counter is a visual feast with many amazing French treats such as tarts and macarons. Love its Baked Egg served in French pan with chunks of chorizo and cheese, it warms the stomach instantly! Coffee here is great and it comes with a cute little donut ball.

Address: 120 Hardware Street, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9078 5992
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7:30 am – 3pm; Sat 8:30 am – 2pm

11. Silo by Joost

Recommended by Ewen, Silo is opened by passionate eco-entrepreneur and sustainable design champion, Joost Bakker. The cafe practises low-waste, sustainable food preparation. Sit in the cafe and you can watch the chef baking bread or making yoghurt from scratch. They don’t have a rubbish bin in the cafe. All food scraps and paper napkins goes to a food waste dehydrator in the backlane where they’re transformed into nutritious fertilizer and delivered back to the farmer.

Address: 123 Hardware Street, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9600 0588
Opening hours: Mon to Wed 6:30 am – 3:30 pm; Thu to Sat 6:30 am – 10:30 pm
Website: www.byjoost.com

Melbourne Cafes: Silo by Joost
Me enjoying coffee @ Silo by Joost

12. Krimper

Krimper cafe is located in a converted warehouse space, very near to where I stay. The cafe was named after revered furniture maker Schulim Krimper, who is the owner’s idol. The cafe feels cosy and inviting. Recommended by Jacob, I was only here for their coffee as lunch service is over. Coffee comes from Proud Mary.

Its menu offers Japanese, French and American-style cooking. If I were to come back, I would like to try orange blossom-infused waffle with berries, ricotta and maple syrup, or Wagyu burger is cooked over a traditional Japanese charcoal grill. I hope they open for dinner soon.

Address: 20–24 Guildford Lane, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9043 8844
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 7am–5pm
Website: www.krimper.com.au

Melbourne Cafes: Krimper
Krimper's food and coffee

13. Balderdash

Serving one of the best coffee in Port Melbourne, it was crowded at 10am in the morning. They offer some nice brunch such as poached egg and relish-topped corn and caramelised onion fritters, or vanilla and cinnamon French toast with Chantilly cream, but go for their coffee really. They have blended their own signature Five Senses brew which blends well with the milk. They serve pretty good homemade muffin too!

Address: 295 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9077 3813
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 4pm; Sat to Sun 8am – 4pm
Website: www.balderdashcafe.com

14. Proud Mary

Very busy cafe but that’s obviously because it is a coffee heaven! It is always very packed, especially during weekends. While enjoying your cup of coffee, you can try some dishes on their menu such as Potato Hash with Charred kale, double smoked bacon and an organic poached egg. I am more interested in the Frank and Beans with House pork and fennel sausage, saffron beans, poached egg, garlic fried sourdough.

Address: 172 Oxford Street, Collingwood
Tel: +61 (03) 9417 5930
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7am – 4pm; Sat to Sun 8am – 4pm
Website: www.proudmarycoffee.com.au

Melbourne Cafes: Proud Mary
Proud Mary's pastries
Melbourne Cafes, Proud Mary's food.
Melbourne Cafes: Proud Mary's coffee & sandwich
Melbourne Cafes: Proud Mary

15. Pardon

The fellows behind Cup of Truth @ Degraves Street have emerged from the underground to set up a new cafe in the backstreets of Prahran. They of course serves excellent coffee with a selection of sandwichs and Matt Forbes’ pastries. I was recommended to try Salted Caramel & Cardamom “Oreo” Cookie which was highly addictive. A delicious combination of salted caramel and aromatic cardamom sandwiched between extra dark chocolate cookies. While I was choosing my cakes, one of the customer talked to me and said they serve excellent chai!

Address: Shop 4, 155 Greville Street (entry via Izett Street), Prahran
Opening hours: Tue to Sun 7:30am – 4pm
Website: www.pardoncoffee.com.au


Other cafes which you can check it out:
– Sensory Lab: 297 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
– Seven Seeds: 114 Berkley St, Carlton, Victoria 3053
– Cup of Truth: 12 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Street Subway, Melbourne CBD

Special thanks to Billy Law // Ewen Bell // IronChefShellie // Cheryl Wee // Jacob // Chloe // Valissa for recommending some of these cafes.

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