One of the first brunch places I tried when I first got to Melbourne almost three years ago is Mart130. Even then, the food was great and I really liked the atmosphere, which might have partially contributed to my love for what I call ‘Melbournian’ brunch and coffee now. The cafe didn’t use to have EFTPOS facilities though, so that’s definitely a plus now, and it also feels like their service has improved. The cafe is at Middle Park and is convenient to get to, especially if you’re taking tram 96, because it’s right at the tram stop of – you guessed it – 130. It’s close to a lot of sports-related venues and parks, so Mart130 gives off an outdoor-y feel, and I’ve seen plenty of pet-owners and their pets enjoying their time here.
Melbourne is so saturated with cafes and brunch places that you’ll never run out of places to eat. And I love it. Although cafes that are in the CBD are generally more convenient to get to, some cafes, like Twenty & Six Espresso, are more peaceful and quiet. The cafe is located in a quiet environment in North Melbourne, fairly close to Fandago and the Auction Rooms, and several tram stops away from the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital. Twenty & Six Espresso is quite easily accessible; just take Tram 57 and alight at the Curzon St/Queensberry St stop.
If you’d ever taken tram 109 from the city towards Box Hill, you’d notice that there is an area full of Vietnamese restaurants and shops on both sides of the street in Richmond. One of the restaurants here that I’ve been to is Pho Dzung Tan Dinh, which serves both cheap yet delicious Vietnamese food. The closest train station is the North Richmond Station, and you’ll have to walk a few blocks along Victoria Street to get here, or take the 109 tram and alight at the Lennox Street or Victoria St/Church St stop. The restaurant is also within walking distance of the IKEA in Richmond, and is opened every day with long operating hours. If you’re ever confused about choosing from the array of restaurants to eat at, this might be a place to start.
Affogato Espresso Bar is one of the numerous restaurants and cafes you see lined up on both sides of Hardware Lane. The food here was decent and the atmosphere is good, and typical of what you would normally expect for breakfast and brunch places in Melbourne. Although there’s no shade outside in case it rains or if there’s heavy wind, it’s definitely still a nice place to sit and maybe people-watch. It opens on public holidays too!
My usual food buddy and I decided to try Little Ramen Bar, a small but popular Japanese ramen store located on Little Bourke and Elizabeth Street. It is also close to Hardware Lane, within an area normally bustling with people due to the array of popular restaurants and cafes including Manchester Press. We were expecting quite a lot from this restaurant since people even queue up to get a seat here and thus it looked promising, but we left feeling disappointed. Although the prices were relatively cheap, the portion of the food we ordered were small and the quality was only decent.
A friend and I decided to try out Suda, a Korean restaurant hidden along Healeys Lane (and located a little away from the heart of the CBD). The small yet well-decorated restaurant offered a selection of unique dishes, such as burritos filled with various traditional Korean flavors including bulgogi and kimchi tofu. Although I’ve only tried some of the dishes from the lunch menu, most of the portions had been quite small even though they were relatively cheap. Albeit serving mostly Korean food, the dishes at Suda resemble fusion food to a large extent and thus, taste less authentic (pretty good nonetheless). The most memorable incident I have of Suda was given one of the dishes for free as a sign of apology for their slightly crappy service initially.
Cafe Lua is another cafe that is located close to the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus, where you would find plenty of students and staff getting their coffee to-go. The environment is nice, not too quiet nor crowded, and there are plenty of other food places in that area to choose from. Personally, I thought that the food and coffee were decent – not bad but not amazing either – and even a little overpriced. It’s a nice place to talk and hang out with friends though, and you also get a loyalty card for buying coffee here.