The southern city of Melbourne has given Europe's café culture a true Down Under twist, and practically every street boasts its own brewhouse sporting exposed brick walls and rustic décor along with the ubiquitous smashed-avocado-and-basic-latte offerings. Here are 10 that go far above and beyond with their exquisite brews and culinary flair.
A Melbourne institution, Proud Mary is famous for producing its own blends and single origin brews. This is where coffee-swilling Melbourne hipsters go for quality brews. It might be in rough-round-the-edges Collingwood, but the surprisingly slick and shiny space makes full use of its custom-made Synesso espresso machine. The coffee is silky, creamy, and with just a touch of bitterness. For best results, pair with the flurry ricotta pancakes topped with spiced nectarine, citrus mascarpone and ginger butterscotch.
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood
The Baker's Wife
Bright and energetic, The Baker's Wife is worth making the trek to the south-eastern suburb of Camberwell for. Owner Beejan Degani's been baking for 27 years and it shows. The brunch menu makes smart use of Degani's delicious baked goods - try the winning French Toast, a combination of Challah, rhubarb and strawberry cotta, and spiced ricotta topped with Canadian maple syrup.
414 Burke Road, Camberwell
Neighbourhood joint Miss Marmalade dishes up exceptionally creamy coffees - made with Five Senses Beans - amid interiors of exposed brick walls and recycled wood. Melding simplicity with creativity, the seasonal menu boasts treats like the house Bacon Egg Benny and Gingerbread Hotcakes. It's scrumptious, but we wish they didn't take the drool-worthy pulled pork "manwiches" off their menu.
126 Union Street, Brunswick
The Vertue of the Coffee Drink
Few cafes in this city oversaturated with coffee houses nail the humble drink as thoroughly as Vertue. Caffeine fiends stroll through a gas station and dilapidated terrace to seek brews made with the 1652 house blend. Get your caffeine hit before ordering from the mouth-watering menu. An ode-to-perfection? Kansas Fried Chicken Burger. That's what Sunday mornings were made for.
8 Raffa Place, Carlton
In once-gritty West Footscray, Brother Nancy is a recent addition that's leading the culinary pack with a menu that punches above its weight. Young French chef Jordi Boyer is bringing some continental Masterchef flair with his innovative dishes and we're glad to report that the perfectly seasoned beef tartare is back by popular demand. Finish with a caffeinated bevvy and baked treats courtesy of Proud Mary.
128 Essex Street, West Footscray
A spacious North Melbourne spot flooded with natural light, Auction Rooms takes its name (and interior décor inspiration) from the premises' former purpose - the old WB Ellis auction house. Specialty blends are roasted on sites, accompanied by an adventurous menu that includes Brûlée French Toast with crispy pancetta, and their signature Pressed Pork Shoulder.
103-107 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Dead Man Espresso
Tucking into a quiet corner of South Melbourne Market, Dead Man Espresso makes great coffee with a specialty blend crafted by famed coffee producers Seven Seeds. Pair with the delicious breakfast options like Vegemite Toast, Deadman Chicken Burger, or Slow Cooked Pork Belly Bun.
35 Market St, South Melbourne
Hammer & Tong 412
An effortlessly cool café on hipster Brunswick Street, Hammer & Tong 412 offers a menu of intriguing plates. If Breakfast Ramen isn't adventurous enough for the first meal of the day, opt for the Salt & Pepper French Toast with Fried Duck Egg or the Szechuan Lamb Spare Ribs, and pair with a punchy brew.
412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Nowhere does bagels like New York, but Manchester Press comes pretty damn close. Stumble through the inconspicuous entrance off a narrow alley and pair your morning java with your pick of bagel poison. Try the Texas BBQ Pulled Pork Bagel or Grilled Spanish Chorizo Bagel and your day is off to a roaring start.
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
Seven Seeds Specialty Coffee
Arguably the most famous coffee shop in Melbourne, Seven Seeds is where those truly passionate about coffee flock. Whether your go-to is a pour over, flat white, piccolo, or a cold brew, it'll be done with the brand's unique specialty blend and is best paired with the moreish food. Think Jamaican Style Jerk Chicken and Double Wagyu Patty Burgers.
106-114 Berkeley Street, Carlton