Maximum variety, minimum decision-making – that’s the beauty of a breakfast plate.
Piled high with more delicious, loosely cohesive, chef-curated bits and pieces than you could ever hope to find in your fridge, these five excellent options let you start your day with what’s effectively a snacking session – not just another spin on smashed avo.
Ever since 2008, beloved warehouse cafe Cibi has been serving true-to-tradition Japanese breakfast plates, which the team considers the purest representation of the brand’s ethos. They’re the ultimate homey, nourishing fare. And over the years, they’ve become one of Melbourne’s favourite breakfasts (prince of pop Harry Styles even ordered one when he visited the Keele Street cafe while on his Aussie tour). The signature is a beautifully presented combo of grilled Ora King salmon, free-range tamagoyaki (a layered and rolled Japanese omelette), creamy potato salad, in-season vegetables, miso soup and the house rice blend. Add-ons include natto (fermented soybeans) and pickled veg. And a bonus: it’s available to take away, too.
Florian, Carlton North
No new cafe in recent memory has been embraced by the city quite as ferociously as Florian. Since opening on Rathdowne Street in early 2021, its old-world charm and European flair have struck a chord with diners, making it eternally busy and encouraging the team to open a south-side sibling. While the offering fluctuates, the cured-fish plate remains the number-one reason to get in before the menu swaps from breakfast to lunch at midday. Slivers of cured trout, salmon and barramundi sit alongside a soft-boiled egg, a few slices of rye, a few pickles, and a dollop of horseradish-spiked labneh crowned in capers.
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Napier Quarter, Fitzroy
On its leafy corner in the backstreets of Fitzroy, Napier Quarter is somewhat of a benchmark for all-day dining in Melbourne. There’s an effortless Parisian style to its daily transformation from espresso bar to wine bar, and an understated elegance to its considered food menu. Anchovy toast is the undeniable signature – and it’s hard to go past – but the continental breakfast plate for two is downright delicious, too. A play on the classic hotel offering (given the guesthouse upstairs), it usually includes boiled eggs, local cured meats and cheeses, house-made pickles and fresh bread, plus something sweet, like fruit and preserves. It’s available Friday to Sunday till noon.
Rowena Corner Store, Richmond
This Richmond institution started life as a milk bar and general store in 1956 before morphing into one of the suburb’s most charming cafes. Part of the allure comes from the friendly-faced service and genuine neighbourhood vibe; the rest comes from a series of Med-inspired dishes that punch well above their weight (and make Rowena worth crossing town for). At the top of the menu is a Mediterranean breakfast plate that deserves its pole position. The green falafel are house-made, the pita bread is warm, and the haloumi is golden and gooey. Accompanying all that is a pair of poached eggs, tzatziki, olives, pickles and a Cypriot grain salad to soak up whatever’s left on the plate.
We’re crediting this glorious new corner cafe for reigniting our love of the breakfast plate. Recently, the Heartattack and Vine team took over Ima Project Cafe’s prime position on the corner of Elgin and Drummond streets. In its place: Sunhands, an all-day eatery that’s equal parts cafe, deli, wine bar and general store. The multicoloured morning plate is as much a feast for the eyes as the mouth. You’ll get a soft-boiled egg and a wad of Akimbo sourdough on which to haphazardly pile salty butter and dip, plus the day’s selection of cheese, ferments and veggies from the Keilor Valley’s Days Walk Farm.
Looking for more breakfast inspo? Check out our podcast episode on the best new cafes of the year.