A ten-minute train ride from Melbourne’s CBD leads to a suburban foodies’ paradise. Moonee Ponds houses an abundance of trendy cafes serving a variety of cuisines, innovative dishes and first-rate coffee that is sure to please everyone. Here’s our guide to 10 of the best brunch spots Moonee Ponds has to offer.
Cafe, Restaurant, Australian, Vegetarian, $$$
Breakfast for Champions | Image courtesy of Brother Hen
The rustic-styled Brother Hen sits hidden among suburbia. With its emphasis on food sustainability and organic produce, the menu showcases a creative mix of combinations; for example, the Nutella and Oreo French toast and sweet potato and paprika wedges highlight a few stand-outs. The cafe’s signature dishes, the big brekky and crispy fried eggs, enriched with grains, almonds and/or homemade sauces, transform the traditional eggs on toast into a fine-dining experience. Feel free to bring the kids also, as the toy boxes and courtyard are sure to keep them occupied.
Contrary to its title, the Ascot Food Store is a retro-themed breakfast and lunch cafe largely featuring organic and free range ingredients. It is a favorite among foodies for the extravagant brioche burgers and syringe-injected doughnuts (of a daily variety of jams and creams). Also providing vegetarian and gluten-free options, the focus here is on high-quality produce, rich flavors and tantalizing meal presentation. The soft shell crab burger with gribiche sauce is one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Chew Chew is located across from Moonee Ponds station (hence the cafe’s name which is a pun on the common children’s expression for the sound of a train, ‘choo choo’). The interior is a combination of recycled and contemporary designs, represented by the marble and wooden dining tables, and brick and timber walls. The extensive menu provides a range of options for vegetarians and coeliacs alike. The dishes consist of fine ingredients presented in quirky ornamental arrangements, also catering for the health conscious. The organic quinoa porridge with poached fruit and honey and almonds makes superfoods delicious and nutritious. For those seeking a sugar hit, try the brioche French toast with hazelnut ganache and honey-infused cream.
Situated on the western side of Queens Park, the former Curator’s Cottage is home to the picturesque Curator’s Collective Cafe. The Victorian Gothic-styled timber cottage housed the park’s superintendents from 1898 until 1990, and now remains a historically significant and rare building. The menu is seasonal, though it provides a wide range of breakfast food options throughout the year including omelettes, corn fritters and crumpets, as well as the more traditional scrambled/poached egg options. The indulgent ‘Deth Shakes’ are sure to satisfy the sweetest of sweet tooths. Consisting of the choc brownie and waffle flavors, they are all sweetened with Persian fairy floss among other sugary favorites.
Lil Kitch is a fairly spacious cafe with a slick yet modest decor and off-street dining area. The menu includes many breakfast options that are served all day, and unlike some cafes, Lil Kitch allows alterations to its menu to suit individual’s dietary needs. The dishes are very generous in size and include popular American breakfasts, and French toast served with bacon, strawberries and maple sauce. The award-winning Segafredo brand coffee is commended by regular customers.
Exhibiting a simple yet elegant timber-styled interior, The Rusty Duck features modern Australian cuisine. The generous breakfast menu extends over two pages and includes children’s options too. The menu is sure to satisfy anyone’s breakfast needs, offering light meals and more substantial dishes such as the Meat Lover’s Breaky (including sausages, bacon and chevapci). Simple and creative combinations of ingredients are also on offer. The Breaky Bruschetta with avocado, fetta and basil pesto is sure to please those with lavish tastes. Fresh juices, smoothies and protein shakes are made on the premises, and you are welcome to choose your own blend of ingredients. The baristas are coffee art experts here, creating intricate floral patterns with milk foam and sprinkled chocolate. The Rusty Duck caters to those short on time by providing fresh, ready-made wraps and homemade soups, and can also deliver to those living nearby the cafe.
Lemon Soul offers a wide ranging breakfast and lunch menu, which caters to vegetarians too. The dishes are simple yet generous and flavorsome. A large selection of common breakfast meals is available to choose from: the focaccia breads and smoothies, which are made to your liking, are the most popular orders. Ornate sorbet smoothies served in mason jars are a special feature during the warmer months. Lemon Soul, 97/99 Puckle St, Moonee Ponds, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9370 3800
Encircled by a cartoon theme, laser cut mural hides Nabiha on the outskirts of the Moonee Ponds Central Shopping Centre. Inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, the menu boasts an innovative mix of ingredients. Combinations with Zaatar, Labne and homemade organic salsa enhance the most typical breakfast meals. Sumac and balsamic vinegar are enticing accompaniments to side dishes. For dessert, Nabiha stocks a small selection of continental pastries, along with more common sweets such as muffins and cakes. The house blend of coffee is the Guatemalan, 5 Senses, with options of specialty roasts available. There is also a large range of fine teas sourced from India, Sri Lanka, China and Japan. Nabiha, 10 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds, VIC, Australia
The Daily Grind
Situated on a small corner, just off Puckle Street, The Daily Grind is a popular destination for high-quality coffee and substantial meals. International influences feature heavily throughout the diverse menu. Typical Mediterranean and European breakfast favorites include the Spanish omelette with chorizo, peppers and potato rosti, and the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote. Not commonly served in Australia, the cornbread with sour cream, egg and bacon allows customers to enjoy an old-fashioned American breakfast. The Daily Grind also presents a great range of gluten-free options that includes sweets such as the pistachio and raspberry tea-cake and hazelnut and cranberry meringue. The Daily Grind, 8 Pratt St, Moonee Ponds VIC, Australia, +61 3 9077 0081
Licensed 42 Café and Bar serves breakfast and lunch and dinner. The dishes are generous in size and the cafe conveniently offers takeaway containers for unfinished meals. The breakfast menu offers many popular choices along with several adventurous recipes including the breakfast pizza and corn fritter stack with bacon or salmon. 42 Cafe and Bar also features alluring homemade sweets that alternate throughout the week. Mini carrot cakes, peanut butter and chocolate slices and sticky date cheesecake with caramel sauce have been triumphs in the past.
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