African Taste ETHIOPIAN
Chef Ben Tesfation puts a playful twist on the traditional at African Taste. His scrambled eggs come spiked with sauteed spinach and shredded Ethiopian beef jerky, plus your choice of tangy, crumpetlike injera or ‘African-style toast’ – white bread with berbere butter.
124 Victoria Street, Seddon 03 9687 0560; Open Sun–Mon 10am–9pm; Wed–Thurs 10am–9pm; Fri–Sat 10am–10pm
Duchess of Spotswood ENGLISH
The Duchess celebrates modern British fare with a focus on nose-to-tail eating – no sludgy boarding school porridge here. The ‘Idle Tongues’ will set them wagging, with seared ox tongue, crispy pork neck and fried duck egg, or try the ‘Breakfast of Champignons’ with field mushrooms and English Stilton.
87 Hudsons Road, Spotswood 03 9391 6016; Open Mon–Fri 7am–3.30pm; Sat–Sun 8am–4pm
Fifty-Six Threads Cafe ISRAELI
Magic happens at Fifty-Six Threads, which provides work experience for new migrants. Israeli-style shakshuka tastes as magnificent as it sounds, with baked eggs running gloriously into spicy tomato sauce, while feta adds zing.
56 Derby Street, Kensington 03 9376 6885; Open Wed–Sun 7.30am–3.30pm
La Niche Cafe FRENCH
It’s still a tricky proposition narrowing down your petit déjeuner of choice at La Niche. There’s an open-faced croque-monsieur topped with white wineenriched bechamel and proper gruyere, and come le weekend, buckwheat flour crepes, a speciality from Brittany.
67 Smith Street, Fitzroy 03 9416 3439; Open Tues–Wed 7.30am–4.30pm; Thurs–Fri 7.30am–late; Sat–Sun 8am–5pm
Lil Boy Blue MEXICAN
Like twin bundles of joy, Lil Boy Blue’s breakfast tacos arrive swaddled in monogrammed paper in a shiny silver basket. Inside, soft flour tortillas cradle two fried Green eggs, Meredith goat’s curd, proper serrano ham and a cheeky relish with tomato, apple and chilli.
309 High Street, Kew 03 9853 5003; Open Sun–Mon 7am–4pm; Tues–Sat 7am–11pm
Middle Fish THAI
No matter where you’re from, congee feels like home cooking. This soothing rice porridge gets a leg up at Thai cafe Middle Fish with the addition of crisp minced chicken balls and a nest of crunchy fried rice vermicelli. Team it with a traditional strong and sweet Thai coffee.
122–128 Berkeley Street, Carlton 03 9348 1704; Open Mon–Fri 8am–4pm; Sat–Sun 10am–4pm
Rockwell & Sons AMERICAN
Order biscuits with all the fixins for a fast ride to the Deep south. These scone-like quick breads are made with Myrtleford cultured butter and served with white roux-thickened ‘sawmill gravy’, poached eggs and ‘sausage’ – a herby pork mince patty.
288 Smith Street, Collingwood 03 8415 0700; Open Mon & Thurs noon–10pm; Wed 6–10pm; Fri noon–11pm; Sat 10am–11pm; Sun 10am–10pm (brunch weekends only 10am–3.30pm)
San Telmo ARGENTINIAN
San Telmo’s Argentinian breakfasts will have you swooning. Weekdays, empanadas – savoury pastries filled with boiled egg, corn and chorizo – are the ticket. Things fire-up at weekends with toasted hazelnut bread with dulce de leche.
14 Meyers Place, Melbourne 03 9650 5525; Open Mon–Thurs 8am–midnight; Fri 8am–12.30am; Sat 9am–12.30am; Sun 9am–midnight
Third Wave Cafe RUSSIAN
The name hints at revolution and with some hearty Russian fare under your belt, you’ll be ready for anything. Kick off the day with cheese blintzes – spiced cottage cheese wrapped neatly in tender crepes fried in butter and served with jam and sour cream.
189 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne 9676 2399; Open Mon–Fri 7am–3.30pm; Sat–Sun 8am–3.30pm
Twenty & Six Espresso BALINESE
Bliss out in Bali at the uber-hip Twenty & Six. Organic black sticky rice is gently cooked with sugar and banana. It’s surrounded by a moat of lightly salted coconut cream (quirky, but it works) and atop the dark, glossy grains is a whole
594 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne 03 9329 0298; Open Mon–Fri 7am–4pm; Sat–Sun 8am–4pm
The Age Good Food Under $30 will be sold for $5 with The Saturday Age this weekend. It's also available in bookshops and The Age online shop (www.theageshop.com.au) for $10.