Duchess of Spotswood cafe in Spotswood.
Duchess of Spotswood's British-influenced breakfast ... Crisp pigs jowl, truffle sauce, fried eggs and toasted sourdough. Photo: Eddie Jim

Lauren Wambach

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

Biscuit and gravy at Rockwell & Sons.
It mightn't look that pretty but for a trip to the Deep South, try Rockwell and Sons' biscuits and gravy. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

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

San Telmo
Crunch into a medialuna, an Argentinian pastry filled with dulce de leche, at San Telmo. Photo: Eddie Jim

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.

For a Thai-style brekkie, try the crisp mussel omelette with sriracha chilli sauce at Middle Fish.
For a Thai-style brekkie, try the crisp mussel omelette with sriracha chilli sauce at Middle Fish. Photo: Bonnie Savage

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

<i>Good Food Under $30</i> is the fresh, new version of <i>Cheap Eats</i>.
Good Food Under $30 is the fresh, new version of Cheap Eats.

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’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
mango cheek.

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.