(Melbourne) Top Paddock

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As a city renowned for its coffee and brunch scene, it’s tough picking favorites here. But if I were to choose, Top Paddock would be sitting somewhere on that list of ‘Favorite Cafes’ (or something). I loved where it’s situated, the food, the service, the decor, the ambiance – everything. While the food wasn’t perfect nor to-die-for, it’s holistically one of the better cafes out there that I would often recommend to others. However, take note that I haven’t had a chance to be back here for a while now, and it seems that certain changes have been made to the menu.

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(Melbourne) Three Bags Full

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There’s something serene and peaceful about cafes that lie on the outskirts, like Three Bags Full, which provided a quick departure from the hustle and bustle of the city that I was used to seeing most of the time. Food-wise, it offered the ‘standard’ breakfast and brunch menu that I have come to expect in Melbourne, and I thought it could do with experimenting with new dishes (though I wasn’t disappointed with the unconventional Japanese okonomiyaki pancake when they did). Trying to find breakfast and brunch where you don’t want to feel let down? Three Bags Full would be a pretty safe bet.

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(Christchurch) C1 Espresso

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Overall Rating: 73%

C1 Espresso is arguably one of the most famous cafes in Christchurch that’s located in the central city, and is open seven days a week with long operating hours. The cafe reopened in its current location at High Street after the original premise was destroyed in the Canterbury earthquake. C1 Espresso is also huge on sustainability, where you can read more about it on its website. I didn’t get the opportunity to try out the breakfast options, but from what I did, the food was decent, but not fantastic. The interior was creative though, featuring a ‘school’-like theme (crayon-like sugar packs!) and in overall, uniquely decorated with bizarre elements including the pneumatic tubes and a sewing machine water dispenser.

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(Wellington) The Flight Coffee Hangar

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The best coffee I had in New Zealand was probably here at The Hangar, where the cafe also offered decent brunch (which I didn’t think quite match up to its coffee, unfortunately). Located on the corner of Dixon and Willis Street, The Hangar is easily accessible and around 10 minutes’ walk from the famous Te Papa Museum. A friendly waitress greeted my family and I immediately after we entered the cafe, where it was crowded, lively, and bright. Customers can also purchase its merchandise on its website, including coffee, brewing equipment, and other gift ideas.

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(Auckland) Chuffed

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A few months ago in winter, I went to New Zealand with my family for a short vacation, and I’d have to say that the scenery were absolutely amazing and beautiful. Our first stop was Auckland, and we went to try out Chuffed the next morning for breakfast. It was located in the CBD so it was easy to find and highly accessible (it’s inside the building at High Street where you’ll find a sign outside that points you to the direction), but I thought it was lacking a bit in terms of friendliness, not that we were exactly treated rudely either. Slightly disappointed with my coffee and decent-quality food, but I liked the cafe’s atmosphere and clean interior.

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(Melbourne) Operator 25

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Operator 25 is a popular brunch destination and cafe that’s within close walking distance from the Flagstaff Station and Flagstaff Gardens. Although it’s located on a more peaceful area of the CBD, Operator 25 is still lively and filled with people who like to enjoy a good cup of coffee or breakfast/brunch/lunch. Offering great food and ambiance, make sure to turn up earlier to save yourself the trouble of having to wait for seats!

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(Melbourne) Mart 130

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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.

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