5 Cafes in Melbourne to feed your camera and tastebuds

7:12 PM

The food scene in Melbourne is incredible, and in my short trip to Melbourne, every speciality coffee that I had left me craving for more. It's no wonder why many gush about how remarkable the cafe scene in Melbourne is.

Personally, as a visual person, I thought that food styling and the cafe interiors also play a role in making or breaking your cafe dining experience. Let's just say that Melbourne has left me in awe in that aspect, and I can't wait to head back to cover more of their cafes!!

Fragrant cuppas, aesthetic interiors and delectable brunchs - here's a list I've complied (together with chef Han's feedback hehe) featuring 5 cafes in Melbourne that you have to visit, for your morning hunger pangs and Instagram!

1. Long Story Short Cafe

Our first cafe stop was located in Port Melbourne, which isn't too long a drive away from the heart of the city. Long Story Short Cafe sports a very minimalist and clean interior, with glass panels all around to ensure there's ample natural lighting for your food photos!

We ordered: Mocha ($5), Latte ($4), Braised Lamb Shoulder ($20) and Buttermilk Tim Tam Pancakes ($17)

Coffee was good, one of the better few we had in Melbourne.

The Braised Lamb Shoulder ($20) serving was huge, and it came with a lot components such as purple cauliflower, sunflower seeds, pecans and quinoa. The cherries also gave a sweet note to the meat which made the meal a little lighter. It's an almost guilt-free plate, but that being said, it's not that flavourful. Also, the lamb was little dry and tough.

When the Buttermilk Tim Tam Pancakes ($17) came to our table, I was stunned for a moment because it was really huge. They had about four thick and fluffy buttermilk layers, with copious amounts of chocolate and crispies. Chocolate fans will love this.
I loved the pancakes, and so did Han. But it starts to get too sweet after a while, which made it hard for us to finish it.

They had other noteworthy items on the menu, such as their Fairy Floss Dessert Burger (looks super good!!) and their Fruit Salad! I think we didn't exactly their best items, but from their Instagram, it really looks like there's much more we should've tried (like their eclairs). It's a pity we didn't have much stomach space.

Long Story Short Cafe
40 Crockford St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207 
Opening Hours: 7am to 3pm (weekdays), 8am to 4pm (weekends)

2. Legacy Camberwell

Hands down, the best coffee we've had! Milk was well incorporated, with the perfect balance of bitterness and acidity.

Their brunch queue was also the longest, and I think it's one of the few local hotspots cause we didn't see many travellers while we were there. We had to wait about 35 minutes before we were seated, but it's well worth the wait, and lucky for us we got window seats for better lighting!

We ordered: Latte ($3.90), Mocha ($4.40), Acai Power Bowl ($16), Legacy Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($19) and Sushi Bowl ($21)

I loved the Acai bowl, although honestly these vegan bowls aren't hard to make as long as you have the right superfoods and fresh fruits. But their granola was nicely roasted and flavourful, with creamy greek yogurt to compliment! Acai puree had the perfect acidity and sweetness.

Their Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($19) was good, well seasoned and not overly fried. Brioche bun was toasted to perfection, and they had this mustard/sriracha mayo slaw that was refreshing yet spicy on the palette. Han agreed it was good too, but would've preferred if the chicken was less dry.

Lightly torched salmon, a perfect onsen egg and fresh beansprouts! Their Sushi Bowl ($21) was photogenic almost at every angle, and tasted super healthy too. I can see why it's one of their top-sellers. But as typical Asians, Han and I thought that the sushi rice could've been more sushi-like, with more vinegar and sweetness.

Still, Legacy Camberwell was one of our favs!

Legacy Camberwell
347 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell VIC 3124
Opening Hours: 7am to 4pm

3. Higher Ground Melbourne

Higher Ground Melbourne works like this - it's a cafe serving brunch/lunch in the day, and it becomes a very classy dinner service on some nights. Initially I was thinking of visiting Higher Ground Melbourne in the morning, but after having a look at the night menu, I was pretty convinced that Han would love their dinner service, so we went ahead with that!

Impeccable service, stunning interior and delectable meals!

We ordered:
Almond Hummus & Seed Cracker ($9.50), Beef Tartare ($21), Charcuterie Selection ($23.50) and Swordfish Collar ($30+)

It was definitely our most expensive meal in Melbourne, but it's well worth the price because every component of each dish is impressive and worthy of praise.

My favourite from all of dishes we had was the Almond Hummus & Seed Cracker ($9.50), simply because the healthy dip was really light, yet super tasty when paired with the seed cracker. As a fan of almonds and seed crackers, this starter perfectly hits the spot!

For the seafood lovers, I think you'll love what Higher Ground has to offer because their fishes are super fresh. There were also many tables ordering their oyster platters, so I'm sure they must have been pretty good.
Although the serving was on a small side, their Swordfish Collar ($30+) was prepared to delicate perfection, with a subtle sweetness and the right amount of acidity.
Han was telling me it's the use of vinaigrette in an advanced cookbook language that I tried to understand, but failed. But anyway, it's great.

I never tried a Charcuterie Selection or even heard of it before, so this was my first. But it's basically a board of dressed meats in a variety of cuts, cures and flavours. Higher Ground's Charcuterie Selection ($23) was a grand sight, and a platter that was tantalising on our tastebuds.

Han's review of the Beef Tartare ($21): Meat was tender, with complimentary Asian inspired components like fried you tiao and dried orange peel. The orange peel gave a subtle yet favourable tinge of fruitiness to the dish. Anchovy emulsion also gave the dish a nice unami flavour and acidity.

I guess Han should write the food reviews instead cause he's so familiar with all the terms... I'm only good at adding flowery words LOL.

After adding in the serivce charge, our dinner turned out to be kinda pricey but, no regrets. It was a worthwhile experience trying out a dinner service in Melbourne. The waiters/waitresses were also super patient and would gladly give you recommendations if you needed or asked for their input.

Higher Ground Melbourne
650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000

4. White Mojo Speciality Coffee

We decided on visiting White Mojo after seeing their specialty coffee blends, one of it being their Black Latte.

The first thing that I loved about the cafe was their ambience and interior - Marble tiles, tables and wooden textures!! Cafes that pay attention to making their decor and food styling visually impactful tend to always win my heart over.

We ordered: Black Latte ($6.50), Latte ($4), French Brioche ($19.50) and Chili Cheese Scrambled Eggs ($20)

Coffee was noteworthy, Han loved their Black Latte ($6.50) which which was their special house blend consisting of peanuts, almonds and black sesame. I don't really fancy black sesame, but I think those who are fans would appreciate this creative mix.

I got their French Brioche ($19.50) after one of their friendly waitresses recommended them to me, and I wasn't disappointed!! Honestly, I expected all that honeycomb, chocolate ganache and caramel to make this overly sweet but it wasn't. The brioche was well toasted, and everything was plated to make this dish a pretty mess!

White Mojo Speciality Coffee
182-184 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn VIC 3103
Opening hours: 7am to 4pm

5. 5 Lire

Our final cafe stop before we headed back to Singapore, and we're glad we picked 5 lire to be the last.

5 lire makes a really rustic, homely and cozy place, perfect for grabbing a cuppa for your quiet brunch mornings. The coffee was good too.

We ordered:
Latte ($3.80), Ricotta Hotcakes ($17.50) and Baked Eggs ($18)

I went into 5 lire already knowing what I wanted to order - their top selling Ricotta Hotcakes ($17.50) that came with just the right amount of nutella and crumble to go with it. They also had this fairy floss to top it off, which has this super peculiar yet amazing texture (it's definitely not candyfloss). I thought it would get overly sweet but this was just sugar in the right dosages!!

Baked Eggs ($18) also immediately appealed to Han the moment we took a glance at the menu. And it definitely didn't disappoint! Just look at the colour of the Tomato Sugo with cheese!! I really liked the wholesome flavour it had, although Han found it to be too acidic after a while.

5 Lire
116 Errol St, North Melbourne VIC 3051
Opening hours: 7am to 4pm

If I had the chance and money, we would've ordered more dishes. We're already missing the cafe scene there...
I would urge anyone to spend a little more just to try out their cafes or coffee joints. I mean, after all, are you really experiencing Aussie if you don't have some of their coffee for your morning fix?

My Melbourne travellogue series is almost complete, with the exception of two travel videos that I'm still working on. I'll try to get up the first one covering the food and city sights soon!

Till then, I guess I should take a break from the bombardment of these travel posts. I'll update this space on more of my personal shenanigans in the next few posts.

Meanwhile, if you're keen on reading more of my travel stories, you can check out some of my articles on Tripzilla! I've only got my NZ adventure up thus far, but I'll be working on more of it soon. After years of dreaming and some setbacks since my poly mass comm days, I have finally found my headstart into travel journalism!! It's nothing big, but I'm happy knowing I'm taking baby steps towards my goals :')

Check out my other posts on Melbourne:
▶ 7 Things you need to know if you're planning a Melbourne Roadtrip
▶ Melbourne Roadtrip (part 1) - Melbourne City
▶ Melbourne Roadtrip (part 2) - Great Ocean Road
▶ Melbourne Roadtrip (part 3) - Yaara & Healesville Sanctuary
▶ 5 Cafes in Melbourne to feed your camera and tastebuds
▶ Melbourne Roadtrip - Great Ocean Road (Video)

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