Can Melbourne have the best cafe options in the world? It makes you think about what makes Melbourne cafes so great, and it really is an excuse to spend some time exploring. After lounging at communal tables around town, we came up with a few reasons why we believe Melbourne’s cafes are the best.
In Brunswick, some young people with beards and large glasses can turn a dead corner store into a fantastic place to hang out and drink coffee; and the entire neighbourhood joins in. In A Minor Place, the corner comes living with chairs on the footpath, dogs hitched to the old verandah place and audiences at the tables inside. In Reservoir, another row of dusty shop fronts at a forgotten side road has an op-shop refit to become Lady Bower Kitchen, whilst at Kew a sister and brother has converted their regional milk bar, maintaining the homey feel and the lolly jar on the counter.
Footscray includes a brand new cafe created, appropriately, from shipping containers planted on a landscaped empty lot (Rudimentary); Carlton has Brunetti, the final word in New World Mediterranean design, a lunch cafe which never sleeps and where the marble and brass trace the journey of Melbourne’s Italians out of poorhouse into townhouse; while the CBD is sprinkled with java holes in unlikely places; from channel underpasses and switchboard cabinets to office lobbies and the portico behind St Paul’s, and it appears there is a intelligent coffee bar down each one of Melbourne’s famous laneways.
They are not all in Fitzroy
Even though sometimes it seems like that. The best all day breakfast can be found in many different locations around Melbourne, through suburbs as varied as Reservoir to Mordialloc, Gardenvale, Werribee, Burwood and Hawthorn East. Build it and we’ll come — especially for great coffee, creative, tasty food and casual but exceptional spaces to enjoy it in.
Not just for hipsters
There could be colourful tattoos, large glasses, craft beards and skinny jeans, but not everybody can be pigeonholed by eyewear or facial hair. Research by Roy Morgan earlier this year found that 63 percent of Melbournians went to a lunch cafe just to drink coffee. You also see employees moving corporate lanyards or wrapped in high-vis vests, parents with pushchairs and dog-walkers with poodles, schnoodles and labradoodles. We may be catching up with old friends, indulging in a family ritual, taking preschoolers for a morning walk, hatching plans for a job, working on a thesis or just whiling away the day. A cafe in Melbourne is the best place to do all of those things in.
The communal table
A large, low table made for lounging near the floor or a top table with stools to match could function as symbols of ancient 21st-century Melbourne civilisation. The communal table is one of the important ways our cafes indicate themselves as shared public spaces in which the only cost for taking part is that the price of a cup of java. You may bring your laptop or your book-club book or just yourself. The communal tables in our cafes don’t have any time limit on them.
Start- up cafes generally have young, energetic and entrepreneurial owners, an indication which it is possible to make your way in Melbourne having a fantastic idea and hard work. Cafes provide us an enlarged sense of what it means to dwell in this town, with a link to neighborhood that chain stores and shopping malls may not make.
Cuisine: Australian cafe
When you travel overseas individuals often ask, “What’s Australia’s cuisine?” And you answer “barbecues” (too American), “meat pies” (too British), “fish” (too vague) or “pasta, sushi, pho and…” (multicultural fusion). Perhaps we should be saying avocado smash with Vegemite, or a dukkah dusting, or a spritz of lime and coriander is our national dish — just add a poached egg. How about a brioche bun stuffed with pulled pork, egg and bacon, or new crayfish? Why not ideal corn fritters (crisp outside, creamy inside)? Australian cuisine could mean Melbourne cafe cuisine: comfy, casual and casual food.