I’m not going to lie, I am a breakfast addict. I love it. It gets me out of bed in the morning and adds the sunshine into my morning even if I wake up to the traditional UK weather. Being a newly returning Brit from Australia, not only is the rainy and cold weather getting me down, but so is the cafe culture. The cafes and breakfast spots in Australia blew my mind and fully implanted the morning meal into my top 10 reasons for living! The kind of experimental variations that they indulge in make it such an amazing meal, no matter where you stumble into in the morning, that I could easily much those dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

sydney canteen

Melbourne’s café culture is phenomenal: interior designs that win awards, coffee that’ll blow your mind, fancy unique ingredients scattering your plate and great versions of traditional brekkie dishes. Trying to pull together the best breakfast places in Melbourne was ridiculously difficult and made me break out into sweats and heart palpitations. Yes, the cafes are that goddamn good but where the hell do I start?! Impossible task, but someone’s gotta do it.
There are legendary huge cafes that dominate the coffee and cafe scene in the city. Proud Mary and Three Bags Full will never disappoint and people willingly wait outside before it even opens. Proud Mary’s all day breakfast allows you to crunch down on Roasted Mushrooms with brioche and whipped goats cheese (drool), or hold on for the lunch menu for their Crisp Pork Belly sandwich. Alternatively, Three Bags Full has a range of toasted sandwiches that’ll make you forget about traditional eggs. Especially the Thai Chicken and Mango Meatball baguette. Did I mention that these two places have award winning coffee?

french toast special
Despite not being housed in epic warehouses, smaller joints do just as good a job as the cafe giants: Small Victories in the leafy inner-city suburb of Carlton North presents impeccable tastes and an incredible reputation in only one year of being open. Baked eggs with tasty accompaniments and poached pears with housemade elderflower yoghurt are sure to tempt you into poking your head around the door. The smell of the food will commit you into waiting for a seat (NB: I might be a bit biased as I worked there for their first opening 6 months).

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In nearby Carlton, spy a sunny corner with happy colourful outdoor seating with vintage mismatched furniture and you’ve found Cafe Lua. A local favourite; this place keeps to a perfectly trusty menu and churns out amazing spicy ‘Huevos Rancheros’ feta scrambled eggs and generous portions of smashed avocado with camomile salt on crunchy wholemeal bread.
Melbourne, being Melbourne, means art and cafes go side by side. Graffiti alleyways are where you’ll find hidden gems of eateries, such as Juddy Roller in the arty suburb of Fitzroy. Set in a lil’ laneway, the garage turned cafe is complete with graffiti, art installations, milk crate seating and art work that is forever rotating to appreciate local artists. Herbivore Vs Carnivore menu options compliment quality coffee. A space to chill out with the hipsters and get nourished.

Venture into the CBD and you’ll be inundated with cafe choice, but select carefully to get the best. Manchester Press and The Hardware Societe are trustworthy and tasty to boot. Or if you want a bit of grime, then hit up 1000£ Bend for a unique art warehouse-setting tucked in a laneway.

Australia’s big cities contain enough cafe culture to kill a small horse, which can make it ridiculously hard to pick a spot to indulge at. The Sydney cafe scene isn’t as edgy and hip as Melbourne; more beach bumming integrated with city living which gives a relaxed vibe. The best places can be hidden in the inner-city suburbs, off the tourist-beaten track, but they can be worthy Melbourne café contenders.

bites photo

The place to find great cafe spots is Surrey Hills. Reuben Hills is nestled here and has coffee that is served with precision and skills. Their menu is influenced by Central American cuisine which is stodgy enough to fulfil the hungriest traveller. “Really f*cking Great Fried Chicken” with chilli in a basket can be served with “Doggs Breakfast” (ice cream sandwich with salted caramel) for dessert. If you hear funky 80’s music coming from Bourke Street, you’ve found Cowbell 808. Vinyl records stack up by the counter amongst other funky 80’s paraphernalia (boom boxes, basket ball hoops). Everything’s made fresh on the premises, and a perfect hangover cure has to be the Wagyu Burger with onion rings. Fancy something odd? Ricotta hotcakes with bacon ice cream. Smoky.


2042 Cafe and Deli has glowing reviews constantly. It means it’s always busy but its affordable tasty nature will continue to pull in the crowds. The 19th Century corner store that was beautifully renovated to produce Revolver still features the ornate wrap around balcony. Loved by locals and tucked away from the tourists, it’s focused on brunch and will never disappoint.

The gentrified suburb of Redfern now has less dodgy men on street corners and more hip vibes with original cafes, like The Town Bike Pitstop. This chilled cafe sells bikes hanging from the walls and has a mechanic round the back to tune up your fixie while you sip your latte. The Dutch themed menu includes sandwiches, pies, pastries and cookies. Running with a similarly delectably quaint theme, Coffee, Tea and Me‘s discreet shop front contains the most awesome vintage seating you’ll ever plant your booty on. Pull up an ironing board or perch on bike seats (their comfort is debateable) to dig into their limited menu. Yes, it’s small but well-done with great coffee and atmosphere.

Town Bike Pitstop exterior - John Fotiadis

Town Bike Pitstop coffee and pie - Grahame rowe

Town Bike Pitstop Grahame and Claire - Louise Hawson
The Wedge Espresso in Glebe has no coffee amateurs here. They even have coke slushies with infused cold-drip coffee! Great sandwiches and fig and ricotta on toast highlight the quality of their Luxe Bakery bread (Newtown). Get ON their heart attack breakfast platters or have a bit of health with their Chai and Date Bircher Muesli.

So Melbourne Cafes Vs Sydney Cafes! You know the score now and where to go to fill your rumbling belly. Let me know which city you think wins the battle of the breakfasts!

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Image 1 credit Liam Constantine ‘The Canteen’ (Sydney), Image 2 & 6 ‘Hoo Ha Bar’ (Brisbane), Image 3, 4 & 11 credit Kristoffer Paulsen ‘Small Victories’, Image 5 Libertas Gardens , Image 7 credit Mark Micallef  ‘Cowbell 808’, Image 8 John Fotiadis ‘Town Bike Pitstop’, 9 Grahame Rowe  ‘Town Bike Pitstop’, 10 Louise Hawson  ‘Town Bike Pitstop’.

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane