Saturday, May 10, 2014


The suburb of Brighton, situated along Port Philip Bay is one of the most affluent areas within Melbourne and home to movie stars, CEO's and an array of Aussie footy players. One footy player in particular, Josh Gibson, has teamed up with some friends to open one of the most exciting cafes to hit the south-side in a long time. The 40s Church-like building on the corner of Church and Saint Andrews Street in Brighton has a huge outdoor area perfect for summer brunching, complete with fresh herbs for the kitchen and a playground for the kids. The interior is filled with benches, communal tables and one of the most impressive polished concrete work benches I've seen around. The menu is extensive and one of the best in the city - there is absolutely no way you won't find something to eat here. It offers all-day breakfast options, superfood smoothies and an array of delicious salads. I visited during a healthy period of eating (rare these days I know) and ordered poached eggs on gluten free toast with a side of kale. It was simply, delicious. Those with me ordered various dishes and despite hearing some mixed reviews from others online, I was really impressed with this place. Make sure to pop it on your list. 

I'm very lucky to work smack bang in the middle of the city, two minutes from Bourke Street Mall, five minutes from the newly opened Emporium and around the same to the excellent Dukes Coffee Roasters on Flinders Lane. I was always a big fan of the cafe on Chapel Street, so when I heard about the CBD spot; I was ecstatic. It’s hard to find a great coffee spot in the city that isn't just a hole in the wall. You want somewhere warm, friendly, inviting and Dukes is definitely that. The first time I ventured in, I looked around and I felt like I had been transported to a cafe along a lane way in London's Soho. The place is just magical. The CBD location unfortunately doesn't serve food as the focus is primarily on the coffee, although there is a beautiful selection of pastries, biscuits and cakes for you to either enjoy in or on your way elsewhere. It’s a firm favourite of mine and well worth the trip into the city to check out. 

Adriano Zumbo caused absolute craziness when he opened his South Yarra store last year and the hype still hasn't died down. I first came across Zumbo on Masterchef Australia and his infamous croquembouche challenge. A few years ago, a group of friends and I visited Sydney for the weekend and decided to take a boat ride to Manly for the afternoon. Luckily for us, there was a small Zumbo patisserie in the area and on that warm lovely day, we all grabbed a coffee, various flavours of macaron and made our way to the beach. It was a perfect afternoon. Its the same when you head to the South Yarra store. The staff are lovely, eager to help and there hasn't been a time I've gone and not come out with anything. Previous trips have included treats such as the buttered popcorn and salted caramel macaron and the ultimate in indulgence, the Zonut. The Zonut is Zumbo's interpretation of the US pastry sensation, born of the happy marriage between buttery, flaky croissant and deep fried doughnut. A different flavour is made each week and on that particular day I visited, the flavour was caramel shortbread. Shaped like a doughnut, the multiple layers of pastry were deep-fried and filled with salted caramel before being topped with more salted caramel sauce, chocolate shavings and finished with a smattering of smashed salted shortbread pieces. It was the ultimate sweet indulgence and boy did I need to hit the gym the next day.

Ah North Melbourne, its not an area I frequent all that much I must admit but I am slowly starting to see why those that live north of the river do so. I ventured to Auction Rooms not so long ago with Kevin to check out what the fuss was all about. Housed in the old WB Ellis auction house, this cafe and coffee roaster could almost been seen as "another" north-side style cafe. You know the ones I'm talking about. Gritty, unpolished and full of hipsters. But once inside the space, theres alot of charming things that let you know that you’ve found something special.

Auction Rooms is loved by locals and those not so local for its adventurous brunch menu which is certainly different to anywhere else I've been in Melbourne. But while you come for the food initially, you will definitely leave loving the the coffee. We were lucky enough to be sitting at the bar where the specialty coffee is prepared and these guys mean business when it comes to coffee. Specialty blends are roasted on site and visitors are offered a ‘coffee of the day’ alongside the regular variety. The food we ordered was sensational and the side dishes that we ordered alongside our poached eggs on toast were of such high quality, they far surpassed food we've eaten at places such as Movida. This is another one to add to that very long list of yours.


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