Fitzroy is Home to the Best Brunches Ever

It’s hard to believe now, but when I first visited Australia back in 2012, I left the country claiming that Melbourne was the place I’d liked least.

There weren’t been any super-famous landmarks to check out like in Sydney. The beaches weren’t as great as the ones in Tasmania. The skyline was boring. It felt like just another big city; somewhere to do some shopping. I came away feeling like it had very little to offer tourists, even going so far as to recommend readers skip over it if they had a limited time in the country.

Having said all of that, I’ll fully admit that I did many things wrong in terms of sightseeing during my first visit to Melbourne. We were in the city to spend time with Dave’s family over Christmas and ended up housesitting in the sprawling suburb of Point Cook, over a half-an-hour’s drive from the city centre. We didn’t have a car.

Instead of exploring the inner city, we stayed mostly in the suburbs. We got some work done. We hung out with Dave’s family. We went for walks around the strangely silent streets lined with identical houses. On the odd occasion that we made our way downtown, it was on New Year’s Eve when everything was closed, or to replace our clothes at an outlet mall, or to meet one of Dave’s friends for Vietnamese food before heading straight back.

Why didn’t we make an effort to see more? Because this was Dave’s time to see his friends and family and I wasn’t going to try to take him away from them. After all, whenever we spend time in London, we’ll often spend weeks at a time in boring Staines, so that I can maximise friend and family time. I don’t want to waste a day looking at the Houses of Parliament when I could be hanging out with people I only see once a year.

Street art in Fitzroy, Melbourne

To me, Melbourne came across like a place to live rather than a city to explore as a tourist, and my month spent living in the suburbs was, um, not as exciting as I might have hoped.

Dave was kind of gloomy when he discovered how disinterested I was in Melbourne — it had been his home for three years before he started traveling and he was invested in me falling in love — so this time around, we resolved to do something about it. It just so happened that our return to Australia coincided with one of Dave’s friends taking a trip away, and that was how we found ourselves housesitting once more, but this time, in the hipster Fitzroy neighbourhood.

Fitzroy street art

These days, if you were to ask me where my favourite place in Australia is, I’d answer Melbourne without a moment’s hesitation.

I love it. I love Fitzroy. I love vibrant Brunswick street, full of vintage clothes stores and second-hand bookstores and record shops and oddities. I love that it’s full of hipsters and hippies. I love the super-cool street art you can find on every street. I love the Victorian architecture; that every building looked crumbling yet beautiful and bright.

I love Fitzroy.

Fitzroy street art

I’ve always said I could never live in Australia. it’s too isolated, and too expensive — both in terms of living costs and as a base to travel from. But after my time in Fitzroy, I found myself eagerly researching the price of apartments. I couldn’t believe it, but I was on the verge of committing to living there.

And the one thing that tipped me in favour of doing so? The food.

In Fitzroy, I spent an entire month gorging myself silly on the best brunches of my entire life. No exaggeration.

These are my favourite spots.

Rustica Sourdough

Breakfast in Fitzroy

Is this not the best looking French toast you’ve ever seen? 

And I’ll fully confess to visiting Rustica Sourdough solely because I’d seen a photo of this exact dish online and wanted to see if it was just as beautiful in real life. Verdict? Yes. Yes, it was.

So what’s on this colourful plate of awesome? Those two slices of French toast came complete with chocolate brownie-flavoured ice cream, fresh berries, vanilla mascarpone, raspberry compote, popping candy, and dozens of colourful flowers. It was delicious and actually not as sickly as I expected. But kind of weird as a breakfast food.

sourdough rustica breakfast

And this was what Dave decided to go with: matcha cured salmon, horseradish aioli, crispy potatoes, a boiled egg, and rye sourdough!

The brioche French toast cost A$16.50 and the matcha cured salmon came to A$19.00.

Industry Beans

Avocado Eggs from Industry Beans, in Melbourne

I very nearly turned into a smashed avocado during my month in Melbourne, and my absolute favourite version came from Industry Beans. Located down an alleyway in an area that’s smothered in vibrant street art, it provided a quiet alternative to the restaurants on busting Brunswick Street.

Industry Beans’ smashed avocado comes with creamy goat’s cheese, charred lemon, green tea sea salt, a poached egg, and two slices of sourdough. So hipster. So great.

Thai breakfast from Industry Beans, in Melbourne

Another one of my favourite brunch dishes here was the tamarind blue crab with crispy prawns, shredded green apple, lychees and a Thai omelette. Dave and I both agreed it tasted like something you’d find in a fancy restaurant in Chiang Mai!

Also, I have to give a shout-out to Industry Beans’ fantastic coffee! I hate 95% of the coffees I try, but Dave’s flat white was so smooth and creamy that I immediately ordered one for myself.

The avocado smashed eggs is priced at A$20.50 and the blue crab was A$22.00.

Breakfast Thieves

Baked Spanish eggs from Breakfast Thieves, in Melbourne

Is Breakfast Thieves not the best name ever for a breakfast place? Dave opted to try out The Legend: spicy baked eggs with Spanish hot chorizo, mushrooms, and feta, served with herbed garlic toast.

Breakfast thieves

As for me, I decided to go with The Leprechaun, because I am short. It was all about the sweet corn & herb fritters on spiced tarka dal, along with coconut and yogurt labneh, crisp-fried chickpea, and poached eggs.

Both dishes were priced at A$19.50.


Menemen from Gutz, in Fitzroy, Melbourne

If I had to choose my favourite breakfast cuisine in the world, there’s no question that it would be Turkish. There was also no question, then, that we’d head to Gutz, which specialises in Turkish breakfasts.

My favourite was the menemen, which was just as good as any I’d had while travelling through Turkey. Gutz’s version came with sautéed onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, mixed in with herbs and scrambled eggs, and served with wood-fired Turkish bread. I may have returned three times in a week and ordered the menemen every time!

Gutz, in Fitzroy

This was Dave’s favourite dish: the eggs benedict, which came with poached eggs, grilled ham, and hollandaise sauce on sourdough, along with a side of baked beans. Nom!

At Gutz, the menemen is priced at A$16.00 and the eggs benedict is A$15.90.

Buildings in Fitzroy, Melbourne

I came to Fitzroy with a sullen face, convinced that Melbourne was the worst. Who knew that by the end of my month, I would be excitedly planning a future where I moved to Fitzroy and put on 73 kilograms within my first year?

Have you been to Fitzroy? Which brunches do I need to check out when I return next year? And if not, where is your favourite city for brunching around?

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If you're heading to Melbourne, you *have* to hit up the hipster Fitzroy neighborhood while you're there! The brunches will change. your. life.


  1. April 29, 2016

    Wow! That foods looks mouthwatering and the street art is beautiful! Isn’t it always the places you least expect to like become some of your favorites?

    • May 11, 2016

      Yes! It’s one of the reasons why I try not to research a place before I arrive — it’s best to arrive without expectations! :-)

  2. April 29, 2016

    Glad to see you posting again, Lauren!
    I have heard no-so-splendid things about Melbourne, but all those brunch photos are pulling me that way! That french toast? With literally everything amazing in it? Awesome find.

    All the artwork on the walls is incredible as well. At first I was confused as to why that guy was holding a small cherry pie, but then I realized it was a meat pie with tomato sauce. Classic. :P

    • June 3, 2017

      It’s 100% worth it to eat in Fitzroy alone! And actually, while I’m not a huge fan of Melbourne, Fitzroy is one of the coolest neighbourhoods I’ve ever been to.

  3. April 29, 2016

    Whenever I see pictures of food that looks that good, I just imagine the photographer swatting forks away from hungry people trying to dig in. Brunch looks delicious! I know I would have a hard time waiting to get the perfect shot ;)

    • May 11, 2016

      Hahaha, Dave was definitely not impressed with me having to take a photo of everything first.

  4. Rebecca Several
    April 29, 2016

    I definitely agree with you on your first reactions to Melbourne, I still feel the same way. Maybe I would feel different if I had family and friends in town, but as a straight tourist, I didn’t find much to see in Central Mel.

    I do like hearing positive things and I am glad you found your diamond in the rough!

    • June 22, 2016

      Yeah, I don’t think Melbourne offers a huge amount in terms of tourist activities, so I totally get why you felt that way!

  5. April 30, 2016

    These food pics have my mouth watering! Melbourne was my favourite place in Australia, I loved it but I can see why you didn’t take to it straight away though if you were out in the suburbs. We went on a cheesy Neighbours tour and quiz night while we were in Melbourne which was so much fun!

  6. April 30, 2016

    Hi, Lauren! I love your blog, and appreciate your clear and honest writing. Also, beautiful photographs!!! I love these pictures of street art – you found some really stunning, powerful murals. I’m glad to hear that you had such a positive experience in Melbourne. Looking forward to reading more!

  7. May 1, 2016

    I have actually only heard nice things about Melbourne. I’d certainly love to see that amazing street art!

    • May 13, 2016

      The street art is fantastic in Melbourne, and I didn’t even get to see the areas that showcase the best of it!

  8. May 1, 2016

    Oh man, I literally have not eaten all day, (it’s 7pm now, I’ve been packing and stressing on my last day in Chiang Mai) and then I read this post!?! Well at least in a short while I’ll be getting some Ramen to help with with hunger pains.

    • May 2, 2016

      Hahaha! :-) Hope you enjoyed your time in Chiang Mai!

  9. Carolina
    May 1, 2016

    So glad you decided to give Melbourne another try! No wonder you hated it the first time, if you were stuck out in Pt Cook! The suburbs suck. Inner city, however, is lovely.

    I’m clearly biased, as I moved to Melbourne 12 years ago…What can I say though, I love the place! It might not be a scenic as Sydney, or as warm as Brisbane, but the things we do, we do great. And those things include coffee, food and cultural events. :)

  10. May 3, 2016


    Everybody always focuses on Sydney.

    Nice post for a change.

    I vote for The Legend!


    • June 16, 2016

      I actually didn’t like Sydney very much!

  11. Ahh I miss living in Melbourne, and the delicious food, so much.
    Your photos and wonderful and bring back so many memories!

  12. May 3, 2016

    Whoa…your photos present an image strikingly similar to San Francisco! Have you been to Bay Area?

    And that french does look worth a solid 10 of those 73kg…10 solid happy ones. haha

    • May 11, 2016

      I have! But I haven’t spent a lot of time there so didn’t recognise the similarities :-)

  13. May 5, 2016

    Just moved into Carlton north. My flatmate is one of the coffee roasters at industry beans!

    • May 20, 2016

      Oh, really?! That’s so awesome!

  14. May 5, 2016

    That food picture of the French toast is to die for! I would love living in a place where restaurants serve food that look like this! :) I visited Melbourne for a very short time during a short trip to Australia, but I fell in love with the city immediately because it has a bit of the big town feel. I’m happy to hear it won you over as well!

  15. May 9, 2016

    Honestly, the brunches in Australia are just. so. good. But these look like another level! Thanks for making me hungry…

    • June 16, 2016

      Haha, you’re welcome! :-) The brunches were seriously incredible in Melbourne.

  16. May 9, 2016

    Breakfast Thieves….or the eggs Benedict with baked beans…or the smashed avocado, which seems to be at hip brunch places everywhere EXCEPT IN TAIPEI.

    Is it reasonable to plan an entire vacation when the reason you’ll give to people for going to said place is “brunch”? Because Melbourne looks tempting.

    • June 22, 2016

      Totally reasonable. You need to go! :-)

  17. May 11, 2016

    Thanks, Natalie! It’s good to be back :-)

  18. May 23, 2016

    This looks soooo delicious! You made me really hungry now :-D Cheers!

  19. May 24, 2016

    Ah this post has me feeling so home sick. I’m so glad you have learned to love Melbourne as much as I do. I’m loving travelling but some days I miss it so much. I’ve told my friends they better be prepared for brunch everyday for a month when I return. ohhh the smashed avocado I’m going to eat!

    • June 20, 2016

      I may already be planning what I’ll be eating in 18 months’ time when I return, haha! :-)

  20. Sarah
    November 15, 2017

    Hi Lauren, we shared them same mistake. I really thought Melbourne is just a big city, but it isn’t. I realized that this place has a lot to offer including Parks, Museums, Zoos and etc.
    By the way, great post!

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