Giving you the perfect reason to sleep in and get up at noon, Melbourne prides itself on its brunches through its thriving cafe culture. Much of these cafes are tucked away in laneways but are bustling with people enjoying the perfect cup of a flat white over poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
Manchester Press is located at 8 Rankins Lane and is known to be busy. All the time. It’s tucked away in a cul-de-sac. Their signage was quite unnoticeable as it blended in with part of the graffiti all over Melbourne’s alleyways. But with a bunch of people crowding outside the entrance despite it already being 2pm, there was no way you’d miss the cafe. The wait wasn’t too long. There’s a piece of paper for you to list your name and at most, 15 minutes later, we were given a table.
The ambience of Manchester Press was nice with its wooden tables, giving it a rustic feel. Great for the perfect Instagram post. My friend had a smoked salmon open bagel ($13) while I went for the 14 hour slow roasted pulled pork closed bagel ($15). I enjoyed this bagel for its flavourful pulled pork. Perfect for a meat lover like myself. I also ordered the hot chocolate off their menu, but because it was a warm day, I requested for it to be iced instead ($4). A little on the pricey side for a small drink. Manchester Press has its own specialty coffee which is actually what this cafe is known for, also featuring local, guest roasters. Unfortunately, I’m still on the path to coffee discovery but perhaps, if I were to visit this cafe again, I’d try out their coffees (ranging from $3-$4).
Away from Melbourne CBD, Fandango is located in 97 Errol Street in North Melbourne. It’s a small, cozy cafe away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Broadsheet described this place as somewhere where one can spend slow afternoons at a gentler pace. We entered Fandango from their back entrance. Unfortunately, there was no space in their outdoor courtyard which would’ve been the perfect ambience to have brunch in on a warm, sunny Thursday. Past their kitchen, we were led into the main cafe where we were seated indoors instead.
We ordered the Grandmother Ham & Aged Cheddar Toastie ($14.8) with apple, cranberry and fennel chutney from their lunch menu. Along with the French Toast with bacon, cinnamon baked apple, maple butter and syrup ($18) from their all-day breakfast menu. Both of very generous servings! We could’ve just ordered one dish and our tummies would’ve already been satisfied. This cafe is the perfect getaway for a relaxing brunch away from busy Melbourne.
The Hardware Societe
Now, I know I said that Manchester Press was busy all the time but…The Hardware Societe is even busier. Of course, going at noon, the peak time of the day, even on a Tuesday, probably gives reason to this but I thoroughly enjoyed the food here so I see why people queue up for this place! The wait was about half an hour if not, a little more. Located on 118-120 Hardware Street, lots of other food outlets were along this street yet, everyone was lining up for The Hardware Societe.
What I loved the most about this place – baked eggs. Prior to this meal, I don’t think I’ve ever had baked eggs! The Hardware Societe offers three options for baked eggs ($18): un: pumpkin purée, roasted asparagus and truffled brie | deux: chorizo sausage, potato, peppers, queso, almonds and alioli | trois: duck rillettes, beetroot purée and hazelnut pesto. Of course, I went for the meat option, deux. All I can say is…amazing dish. I was a little upset I had to split this with my friend! I wanted it all to myself!
Our other dish to share, was the Scrambled Eggs which was served on a brioche bun with bacon and house made tomato hot sauce ($21). Very, very filling. Obviously, I preferred the baked eggs over this but overall, I was really happy with my meal at The Hardware Societe. Would definitely come back if I had the chance!
I’d definitely describe Melbourne’s food culture as part of a unique brunch scene. Could it be that Melburnians don’t get up till late in the morning and go straight to brunch, despite ending their work days at a mere 5pm?! Whatever the reason, I thoroughly enjoyed brunching in Melbourne. There’s an endless of options for brunch in this city!
[Don’t forget to watch my trip to Melbourne here!]