Ex-Bacash chef Valerie Fong brings a fine-dining flair to brunch, that humble in-between meal that’s become a staple in the Melbourne diet.

Hidden down Wills Street in the business grid around Flagstaff Station, this gem is a trendy hideout from the rest of the bustling CBD across from the gardens.

The rustic brick interior serves as a reminder of the heritage-listed building the cafe resides in. It was the home of Melbourne’s first telephone exchange company. The modern furniture and lush flower arrangements set a cosy ambience in the sleek industrial setting.

The menu by head chef Felipe Guedes, another ex-Bacash chef, boasts decadent options such as pressed lamb shoulder and belly with Romesco sauce; a soft-shell crab salad with quail eggs; and vanilla custard sago with rhubarb compote. This is brunch with class sans the hefty price tag.

With a standard this high, it’s only apt that Operator25 uses coffee beans from Code Black, as well as award-winning Cartel coffee, with ex-Manchester Press barista, Mikael Jasin at the helm.

25 Wills Street, Melbourne
(03) 9670 3278

Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 9am–4pm