The 10 Best CBD Breakfast Spots in Melbourne

Originally published on Concrete Playground.

Never turn up to work hungry again

Melbourne’s obsession with weekend breakfasts is engrained in its identity. But during the week it’s sometimes overlooked in favour of a few more snoozes and a couple of extra minutes in a warm bed.

We’re all about those zzz’s, but it’s no excuse for skipping the most important meal of the day — especially if you work or study in the city. There are a whole slew of CBD cafes that open every day (save, say, Christmas and the apocalypse) before you’ve even arisen from your slumber, and they’ll be ready to ply you with good food and even better coffee to start your morning. 

So for the sake of nutrition, productivity, and your tastebuds, we’ve put together a list of the ten best — and speediest — CBD breakfast spots.

THE JOURNAL CAFE– Brunch among books

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For those in intellectually demanding jobs, it can be even more difficult to get motivated in the morning. If you think surrounding yourself with suspended bookshelves and pillars filled with pot plants will stimulate your brain, head down Flinders Lane to Journal. Simplicity is key at this restaurant, centred on classic breakfasts such as crumpets, croissants and a variety of mouth-watering bruschettas.

253 Flinders Lane.

RUSTICA CANTEEN– Pre-work pastries

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Mounted on one of Rustica Canteen’s walls is a red neon light reading, ‘we got what you need’. And it’s true if you need a quick, takeaway breakfast. The canteen (conveniently only a five minute walk from Melbourne Central Station) sells the same pastries and breads from mother bakery Rustica Sourdough in Fitzroy. Chocolate peanut butter croissants, pear Danishes, cronuts and choux pastry bombs are some morning favourites, easy enough to indulge in walking to your next destination.

33 Guildford Lane.

OPERATOR25– Wake up call

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Need a wake up call? Put yourself through to Operator25. Housed in an old, brick-walled telephone exchange building, Operator 25 serves some of the city’s most inventive breakfasts. Eggs are taken to the next level with the accompaniment of things like curried braised beans, or tapioca and potato fritters. The long communal tables could also mean you take a few colleagues for breakfast. Operator25 is an ideal detour for those hopping off at Flagstaff Station.

25 Wills Street.

CUMULUS INC.– Something fancy

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Before running away from Cumulus Inc. assuming breakfast is going to gobble up your wallet, hold up. To most people’s surprise, breakfast options are reasonably priced. Cumulus’ European identity translates into its morning dishes, in the forms of house-made crumpets, bacon baps and blood sausage and bacon on toast with fried eggs. The Cumulus Inc. breakfast will get you a boiled egg, toast with jam, a pot of yogurt, plus an orange juice and a coffee or a tea — all for $16. The predominantly white interiors absorb oodles of morning light, sometimes enough to pull diners out of their Monday morning slumps. And if that doesn’t do it, order some madeleines with lemon curd — they’re baked to order.

45 Flinders Lane.

MIGO’S– Italian eats

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Migo’s serves affordable food, without compromising quality. The 4×8 metre Italian gem is carved into Flinders Lane has a menu that’s both humble, yet still broad enough to please all types breakfast goers. One could choose the he semolina porridge while another treats themselves to an Italian omelette. And the best part? Nothing creeps over $20. The space fills up quickly, so if you have no time to wait, pick up a coffee and a Portuguese custard tart via the coffee window.

289 Flinders Lane.

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Most Melburnians are skeptical about combining chicken and waffles — and rightly so. But Bowery to Williamsburg hopes to destigmatise the classic breakfast dish from America’s south. An illuminated subway sign reading ‘Bowery to Williamsburg’ welcomes diners into the eatery and pays homage to the New York subway stations. Sandwiches are served with a pickle and pretzels to instantly transcend you to a New York deli, but the food is not restricted just to that of waffles — they also serve a range of shakshukas and some killer sandwiches come lunchtime. Those with a little more time can sit and enjoy a Reese’s cup with their coffee and breakfast, otherwise takeaway is available.

16 Oliver Lane.

SUN MOTH CANTEEN & BAR– Working brunch

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Inserted in the stream of apartments that form Niagara Lane is Sun Moth, an effortless eatery tucked away from the CBD’s morning noise. It’s a place of productivity; upon entry one will notice the substantial amount of laptop screens with people trying to finish last minute work or study. They’ve got the right idea though — why not work with some culinary motivation, like an energising super-grain bowl with miso dressing and cold shiitake broth? And for those who like to squeeze in a little pre-work shopping, Sun Moth is a mere four-minute walk from Bourke Street Mall.

28 Niagara Lane.

SCHMUCKS BAGELS– bulging bagels

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It would certainly be Schmuck-like (that is, foolish) not to visit the newest bagel master in town. Schmucks Bagels go way beyond the average poppy seed bagel, serving adventurous options such as the Hippie Slicker — a seeded bagel filled with turmeric-roasted cauliflower, hummus, watercress and tomato — and the Oy Vey, filled with pulled pork, harissa slaw and tonkatsu. Sure the store is small, but it’s totally defying what can be crammed in a round of boiled bread.
Guests Lane.
All images are supplied.

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