Category Archives: Highly Recommended

Spotted at Vegie Bar

If every city had a Vegie Bar, I would die happy.  Vegetarian fare from a wide variety of international cuisines and plenty of vegan options as well.  This place is busy, noisy and cheap with a bohemian vibe in the heart of Fitzroy.  Servings are generous.  The stir fry had both a wide variety of vegetables as was plentiful.  Another bonus is the standard rice is brown.  The menu has a lot of variety.  In most restaurants, vegetarian and vegan options are usually found in the ‘Sides’.  This is all Mains, baby!  The business is obviously booming which makes me wonder why there are not more of them around.
Vegie Bar
380 Brunswick Street, VIC, AUS
Opening Hours
Mon-Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat/Sun 9am – 10pm

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Spotted at De Clieu (Seven Seeds)


One of the three Seven Seeds cafes dotted around Melbourne, De Clieu has a nice corner sunny location with a nice indoor/outdoor flow. We had a pour-over and an espresso on a lazy, sunny, autumnal afternoon. Seven Seeds HQ was packed to the gunnels, so we were surprised it was much more relaxed and less hectic. Both coffees were excellent, the pour-over had sugar cane sweet overtones. I really like the later opening hours in Melbourne. In NZ, most cafes are closed by 3 or 4pm
De Clieu
187 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 8am-5 pm
Seven Seeds HQ
Brother Baba Budan

Seven Seeds

Espresso cup reflection at St Ali cafe
This is in our top 4 list of the best. Located in brick industrial area with no signage outside, one could easily walk past without noticing it…which is how we like it. Inside is a cavernous warehouse cleverly partitioned to make it seem intimate. There are bike parks inside too! This is the location of Seven Seeds HQ where the roastery is housed. There are two other cafes, Brother Baba in the CBD and de Clieu in Fitzroy. All are quite distinct in their styling and character, which we liked. We had a pour-over with a Brazilian bean. The coffee was presented in a sake-type ceramic container and came with tasting notes. The flavors of the coffee were really evident in this style of brewing. This place is busy, so be prepared to be on a waiting list if it is the weekend or at peak times during the day.
Seven Seeds
106 Berkeley Street, Carlton, VIC, 3053, AUS
Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 8am-5pm, Public Holidays 8am-4pm
De Clieu
Brother Baba Budan

Brother Baba Budan (Seven Seeds)

One of the 7 seeds cafes

This is the central city branch of the 7 Seeds coffee empire.  Small and cosy with a very casual and rustic atmosphere.  We had a single origin Brazilian espresso.  Rich flavor and smooth on the palate with a good balance, not too much acidity and slight sweetness.  Perfect!  Crumpler bag shop is just next door to pick up a funky but functional cycle courier bag (http://www.crumpler.com/au/)

Brother Baba Budan
359 Little Bourke st, Melbourne
Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 9am-5pm
Seven Seeds HQ
De Clieu

Thousand Pound Bend

Entrance to the warehouseThis is a gem of a place that is a cafe, gallery, artspace, theatre in a warehouse style format for the young creative-types in Melbourne CBD.  Great edgy but communal vibe, good food and coffee with free WIFI.  They even show movies, double feature, for free periodically during the year.

1000 £ BEND
361 Lt LONSDALE STREET
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Opening Hours
CAFE: Monday – Friday 8am – 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 11pm
GALLERY: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm

The Final Step

Our very first coffee experience in Melbourne (and in fact our last).  Ben, the Kiwi chap, is one of the nicest people we have met.  In fact, we were a bit nonchalant about the coffee and he took the time to explain that Melbourne has a lighter roast and more acidity than the NZ or even Sydney style of coffee.  He even made us another espresso (for free) and took us behind the machine to go through all the steps in making a brew.  This memory has stuck out as special in all our experiences.  The Final Step has been voted one of the top 4 coffee houses in the 2012 Coffee Army survey.  The cafe is tiny and cosy, with room for a piano and guitar and his sister’s tempting cakes on the table.  Be sure to visit and say hi to Ben.

The Final Step
1c Murphy St, South Yarra, VIC 3141
Opening Hours
Mon to Fri 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Sat to Sun 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

Spotted at Monk Bodi Dharma


Tucked behind the main Carlisle St shops down an alleyway, hard to find but well worth it. The cafe is small and cosey with dark, warm timber furnishings. It is vegetarian, but not vegan, and has a hippy, flower power feel to it. Espressos are quite a distinctive experience, Columbian bean, intense body with high acidity. They do set menus
Mond Bodi Dharma
202 Carlisle St, Balaclava, VIC 3183, AUS
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday 7am – 5pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 8am – 5pm
Friday night dinner 6.30pm to quiet

Spotted at Dead Man Espresso

For such a good cafe, they should have a decent website…but at the time of writing this is not the case.  Although not critical, with so many good cafes in Melbourne, visitors with limited time use this to sort the wheat from the chaff…shall we say.

Bloody nice cafe and excellent coffee.  I think they source the best beans from the best roasters in town, which is a very smart thing to do (much like The Final Step).  Very busy when we visited but definitely worth a re-visit.

Deadman Espresso
35 Market Street, South Melbourne, VIC, 3205, AUS
Opening Hours
Monday-Saturday 7am-4pm; Sunday 8am-4pm

Spotted at Nineteen Squares

Set in the bohemian suburb of St Kilda, this is a chilled spot particularly on a nice day.  The outdoor seats and tables are little more than upturned re-used boxes, but this just adds to the charm.  It has a village/beachy atmosphere in a community that is close to the St Kilda beach.  It is a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the more well-known Acland Road shops, which suits us fine.  This became our ‘local’ for the first few days while we explored the bay on our bikes and headed up to Port Melbourne.  Fresh muffins each day, veggie sangas are yummy and they are open for beef or veggie burgers on Friday and Saturday nights.  Supreme organic coffee, which was good, and more of a ‘Kiwi’ style of roast and flavor.

nineteen squares
31 Blessington St, St Kilda, VIC, AUS
Opening Hours
mon – fri: 6.30am – 5pm sat – sun: 7am – 5pm

located in St Kilda

Spotted at St Ali

Serves cold drip, syphon, pour over…they do the lot and they do it better than most.  We had espresso and syphon here sampling the excellent Cup of Excellence beans (#3) on offer (refer to blackboard photo below).  You can definitely taste the difference in the quality.  Open 365 days a year!  St Ali is in our top 4.

St Ali
12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne, VIC, 3205, AUS
Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday 07.30 am to 5.00 pm
Sunday 08.30 am to 4.00 pm

Spotted at Three Bags Full

One of our all time favorites.  Everything good is in this place.  It is quite a big cafe but they have cleverly designed it with nooks and crannies to give it a more intimate and cosey atmosphere.  Good use of warm timbers with recycled street signs, industrial chic.  The large communal table with a row of fesh-cut flowers to divide the space is a nice touch.  The muffins and food are delicious and the staff friendly.  The espressos were excellent (using ‘5 Senses’ beans), rich and flavorsome and full-bodied, which is how we like it first thing in the morning (a blend of beans from Guatemala and Columbia).  There is a variety of bean and brewing options available.  It is also conveniently located near the Gipps St exit of the Yarra River cycle path.  Go early in the weekends to avoid the crowds and waiting lists.
Three Bags Full
Corner of Mollison and Nicholson Street, Abbotsford, VIC, 3067, AUS
Opening Hours
Monday-Friday 7am to 5pm, weekends and public holidays 8am to 5pm.