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Venture 45 minutes out of Melbourne and you’ll discover the Northern Suburbs, and the brunch spots that the locals keep secret. Tucked away in small farm towns, in quiet shopping strips, and down backroads, cafés and restaurants serving homemade brunches packed with fresh produce sit awaiting your arrival.
Located on a quiet street in Reservoir, Lady Bower serves all-day brunch, lunch, sandwiches, and sweets. Lady Bower is always packed, and owner Renee encourages locals to bring their home-grown produce so that the team can use the fruits and vegetables to make jam and preserves. Among the spreads for sale are tomato chutney and plum jam. Try the pulled pork and green mango sandwich, melon bircher, and the Lamington hand-shaken milkshake.
Lady Bower, 1A Marchant Ave, Reservoir VIC, Australia +61 03 9469 5851
Tucked away in the leftmost corner of Stables Shopping Centre is Mill Park’s own French cafe. Owned by Harry and Helen Dehghani, Jadhomes Bakery & Cafe is a contemporary take on a classic Parisian restaurant. As you step inside, you will immediately notice the glass display cabinet filled with a colorful assortment of heavenly treats, including Harry’s famous vanilla slice, before a friendly waiter greets you. Take a seat under the plants and gaze at the Eiffel Tower mural. Menu highlights include the berry ricotta hot cake, homemade granola, and bread and butter pudding.
Cielo Blue is located within the Plenty Views Golf Park. The impressive open fire and brickwork make for an inviting setting. Cielo Blue serves breakfast at weekends and Italian lunch and dinner throughout the week. The breakfast menu includes eggs Florentine, Benedict, and Atlantic along with buttermilk pancakes, and a big vegetarian breakfast. There are outdoor tables for those wanting to dine over the golf course, and the venue can be booked for functions.
Cielo Blue, 206 Yan Yean Rd, Plenty VIC, Australia +61 03 9436 1866
Just off Plenty Road, Two Beans and Farm is a restored farmhouse dating back to 1861. The Carome Homestead is located in Mernda, about a 50 minute drive from the CBD, and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a slightly Spanish feel. There are separate dining rooms, allowing for privacy and providing spaces for functions. Two Beans and a Farm has a ‘garden to plate’ approach, and its seasonal menu includes tapas, brioche buns, and organic and vegetarian options to enjoy in the company of some friendly kangaroos.
Two Beans and a Farm, 10 Hathfelde Blvd, Mernda VIC, Australia +61 03 9717 0978
Tancks Corner is a weatherboard building situated on the site of the historic post office. Tancks Corner has a refined menu, including Moroccan spiced cauliflower salad, ‘shrooms and kale; and toasted banana and coconut loaf. The owners use local produce and sell Australian-made products in their boutique in support of local businesses.
The motto is ‘for everyone there’s Home, Work and a Third Place…’ and it’s not hard to imagine this cafe becoming your go-to retreat. The farmhouse was built in 1866 and comfortably seats 45 people around the communal tables and open fire. There’s a picturesque garden, as well as a marquee suitable for special occasions. Breakfast is served until 3pm, and the menu includes old favorites as well as unique options such as the Middle Eastern shakshuka. Third Place is also open for lunch and dinner and is hoping to launch an artist’s studio, communal library, and nursery.
Dexter does buns, not burgers, and is a must-know, anything-goes eatery for Melbourne’s most carnivorous. Situated on High Street in Preston, Dexter’s wacky lunch menu includes Kentucky fried cauliflower, pig’s head croquette, bone marrow mash, hot meat donuts, and a liquid nitrogen and chocolate biscuit creation titled ‘milk and cookies.’ On-tap beers by Temple Brewing are also available.
Dexter, 456 High St, Preston VIC, Australia +61 03 9973 357