Graduation is nearing and what better way to farewell six years of blissful student life, than to dedicate a blog to the cafes that have filled my lunch breaks and ‘missed’ lectures. Here are the best cafes that are within walking distance from the University of Melbourne:
Top 3: Le Miel Et La Lune, Seven Seeds, Stovetop
Baked eggs are Animal Orchestra’s specialty, served with a thick slice of buttery bread. It makes an appearance on this list for sentimental value, having been a great source of comfort during study breaks. It was one of the first brunch restaurants I visited, before my obsession with food exploded. Newspaper and magazine clippings for wallpaper is a totally hip idea. It’s nothing spectacular, but baked eggs have always served as great winter comfort food following those looming winter exams. Our favourite was always the Chorizo baked eggs, where the saltiness of the chorizo is balanced with a warm tomato mixture and some good ol’ melted cheese. But it’s not all baked eggs, Animal Orchestra have a range of toasted paninis, soups and specials. The place is generally packed with students during lunch, looking for a small break from University life.
Recommended Dish: Chorizo baked eggs
Who doesn’t love an authentic Italian pizza? Kaprica pays homage to its Italian roots with quality toppings and great simple pizzas. It’s comparable to D.O.C, with one of our favourite pizza bases in Melbourne. It’s doughy, yet crispy and doesn’t require a lot of toppings – highlighting the quality of the base The toppings are tasty enough for repetitive visits, with plenty of happy students enjoying this top-notch pizza – that luckily is located so close to campus (short walk from the Law Building). Our go-to pizza is the Proscuitto pizza, with heavenly thin slices of salty prosciutto, parmesan and rocket. As the pizza nazis will proudly proclaim ‘ NO PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA, ONLY 4 INGREDIENTS!’ The decor is rustic and charming and if pizza’s aren’t your fancy, you may also find some pastas and sweet treats. The tarts are pretty darn good too.
Recommended Dish: Proscuitto Pizza- Tomato, proscuitto, rocket, parmesan + Strawberry & Ricotta Tart
LE MIEL ET LA LUNE
A 10-minute walk from Melbourne University – this corner cafe’s menu is best described as French inspired with a Korean influence.Unfortunately, it’s not a stone throw away from campus – unless your lectures are around the Earth Sciences area. Thinly sliced pork belly, kim chi and enoki mushrooms are examples of Asian ingredients you can expect to find as fusion elements. Meat lovers will adore this dish, with succulent pork belly served with a potato hash, scatterings of Asian mushrooms (we love enoki) and a decadent creamy sauce. If that doesn’t sound delicious to you, I don’t know what will. Healthier options such as Avocado Smashes and good ol’ scrambled eggs with fresh smoked salmon is also available. Le Miel et La Lune is definitively more interesting than your standard brunch fare, keeping up with the Asian fusion movement that has swept Melbourne these past few years. So grab a couple of mates and go for an afternoon stroll to this Carlton eatery.
Recommended Dish: Potato hash w/ Pork belly, Poached egg , Mixed mushrooms
If today isn’t an eggs on toast kind of day, consider the hip Thai restaurant that is walking distance from ‘The Spot’. One look at this seemingly dilapidated space, decorated with Thai furnishings and hipster odd-bits, reminds diners of the fantastic diversity of the Melbourne dining scene. Here we have a place that is sooo very Melbourne, serving up tasty Thai dishes to hungry students and locals. Brought to you by the same owners of Mr Nice Guy in the CBD, the dishes take more of a casual approach to Thai Food, with an array of tangy salads, curries, sliders and rice dishes. We enjoyed the soft shell crab sliders, that was sufficiently crispy, spicy and served in miniature brioche buns. Unfortunately, the curries are a tad sweet for our liking, we prefer fieriness and tang when it comes to good Thai. But it’s definitely a tasty alternative if you’re not after traditional brunch.
‘Big things come in small packages’, certainly applies at this cosy corner cafe. Discovered accidentally, this quaint space is subtle on the eye with a basic organic menu. Smashed Avocado is a classic brunch dish. Queensberry’s version is a tasty interpretation, with shaved parmesan, corn and scatterings of pepitas for added crunch. It was also great to see a cafe soft boil their eggs, rather than poach them. I know this is a big claim, but the Queensberry’s smashed avocado is one of the best we’ve had in Melbourne. The scatterings of parmesan, corn and crunchy pepitas elevates this dish beyond the norm. Often, avocado smashes can be a bit bland, but the addition of parmesan gives it that salty kick that made this dish beyond delicious. On Monday they roast their own coffee beans and they also do a mean smoothie. Seems that I have accidentally discovered another coffee roaster in Melbourne. Great place for a student hangout.
Recommended Dish : Smashed Avocado w/ Parmesan, Pepitas, Corn
Seven seeds is a micro roaster, cafe and coffee retailer all-in-one. From my perspective, Seven Seeds is the original hipster cafe, serving top notch food within a trendy converted warehouse. It existed before the gargantuan explosion of Melbourne cafes, I see it as the ‘grandfather’ of Melbourne brunch. Notably, producing one of the best coffees in Melbourne, its proximity to the University of Melbourne means its popularity amongst students and staff is maintained. The menu and coffee beans are constantly evolving between seasons, providing an opportunity to salivate at the array of rotating dishes and premium coffee. The Wagyu Burger is our go-to dish, with a juicy wagyu burger served alongside crispy pork crackling, fried until it becomes a fluffy white cloud of indulgence. Hot chocolates arrive with a chocolate serving spoon and the coffee was once considered to be the best in Melbourne.
Recommended Dish: Waygu Burger w/ Pork Crackle
A short distance from the Law Building, Stovetop is a recent addition to the university café scene. Cinnamon waffles, sweet potato latkes and baked duck eggs would make any student’s stomach rumble. One of the better cafes on campus, menu options are diverse, ranging from semolina baked gnocchi to confit ocean trout. We opted for the duck eggs baked in sauteed spinach – a perfect autumn dish baked with roasted pumpkin, Persian fetta and house za’atar. Served with a side of crusty buttered sourdough, we enjoyed the warmth and Medittarean influence of this dish. The semolina baked gnocchi is an interesting alternative to standard gnocchi, with a smoother softer texture, reminiscent of buffalo mozzarella or a custard. The rotating specials keeps the menu interesting and Stovetop is definitely one of our personal favourites on campus. No need for Union House food in this domain.
Recommended Dish: Duck Egg Baked in Sauteed Spinach w/ Roast Pumpkin, Persian Fetta, House Za’atar
All images by Hungrycookie (exception Kaprica – obtained from Urbanspoon)