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The question: where should I be eating in Melbourne right now? First reaction: a blank, paralysed by choice, stare. The eventual answer: here are five we love; some brand new, others more familiar but all absolutely kicking it. The proviso: ask us again in a week.
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1 Crumbed coddled egg, anchovy and black
pudding salad, Pope Joan
For those who think this sounds like a nightmarish collation of everything that should be banished from sight before noon, there's always banana bread with rhubarb and geranium or poached fruits and rice pudding. But for anyone who likes a bit more grunt in their victuals, this surprisingly light heart-starter is the breakfast of champions - deep-fried egg and all. 77-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East, Vic, (03) 9388 8858
2 Oh My Goshlette, Bird Cow Fish stall, Eveleigh Markets
Bird Cow Fish has a pretty solid brunch rep, but to get really up close and personal, hit their stand Saturday morning at the Eveleigh Markets, where, in addition to their Crooked Madam, you'll also find the Oh My Goshlette. It's a three-egg omelette cooked to order before your eyes and filled with anything from cherry tomatoes to a mushroom sauté. Booya. 243 Wilson St, Darlington, NSW, (02) 9209 4220
3 Mud crab omelette, Nu Nu
Steamed North Queensland mud crab meat juiced up with a slick of ginger caramel and softly enveloped in a fluffy omelette, served with a tangle of watercress that's been dressed with an ajad redolent of kaffir lime leaf, mandarin peel and coriander root. Could it get any better? But of course. At the table, they pour on a warming broth of chicken stock, white pepper and fresh ginger. Ocean views are strictly optional. 123 Williams Esp, Palm Cove, Qld, (07) 4059 1880
4 Smoked haddock and spiced potato, The Gunshop Café
An earthier reworking of the classic Anglo-Indian kedgeree, this plate of carb-loaded goodness sees smoked haddock chunks teamed with a more-ish dry curry of potato lightly spiced with cayenne pepper, turmeric and coriander leaves. A softly poached duck egg sauces it all nicely. Eat your heart out, Raj. 53 Mollison St, West End, Qld, (07) 3844 2241
5 Creamed corn, eggs and bacon, Four Ate Five
We love Four Ate Five for their killer coffee, for stocking Adriano Zumbo pastries and for rocking a pulled-pork sandwich on their lunch menu. But for breakfast, our affections centre squarely on the fact that they make their own creamed corn, then pile it high with eggs and bacon. With organic sourdough toast for mopping, it's a thing of beauty. 485 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9698 6485
6 Welsh rarebit, Toulouse sausage, fried egg and cavolo nero, Silo
Limestone Coast cheddar and house-made sourdough provide the basis for this thoroughly upmarket take on cheese on toast. Locally made Toulouse sausages, accompanied by sautéed cavolo nero, pack a garlic punch. It's a regular feature on this, the national capital's most notable breakfast menu. 36 Giles St, Kingston, ACT, (02) 6260 6060
7 Smoked ocean trout with zucchini and goat's cheese, Circa, The Prince
The trout for Circa's breakfast menu is smoked over cedar and vine. The beautifully textured fish is then teamed with a disc of goat's cheese that's been crumbed and quickly fried and ribbons of zucchini, and finished with a splash of lemon olive oil. 2 Acland St, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9536 1122
8 Bread and butter pudding, Il Fornaio
Made from a variety of rich sweet baked goods (or Viennoiseries) such as croissant and brioche, Philippa Sibley's take on the classic pudding is teamed with a cinnamon custard and chai-infused prunes to devastating effect. 2c Acland St, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9534 2922
9 Poached egg, feta and mushroom breakfast
It's official, pizza is a breakfast food - or at least it is at Perth's hippest CBD dining spot. Toppings change daily based on what's in season, but what's guaranteed is that the pizza will be woodfired, made using Eden Valley biodynamic flour and damned tasty. Worth getting in to work early for. 100 St Georges Tce, Perth, WA, (08) 9481 8333
10 Hotcakes with spiced peaches, Proud Mary
For those who like a little sweet and fruit early in the morning, Proud Mary's fluffy ricotta hotcakes - draped in dark chunks of warmly spiced peaches, sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds and served with a generous slug of orange-infused maple syrup - will make you very happy. Giddy up. 172 Oxford St, Collingwood, Vic, (03) 9417 5930
11 Stuffed chicken wings, Khai Thong stall,
Stuffed chicken wings equal a breakfast sausage with a difference. Spicy, garlicky minced pork, onion and vermicelli noodles fill a boned chicken wing cooked to burnished tenderness: it's a lip-smacking combo. The recipe originates from Thailand and wings are available at all of Darwin's markets, but the spot near the fruit truck at Parap Market on a Saturday morning is your best bet. Parap Shopping Village, Parap Rd, Parap, NT, 0438 882 373
12 Crumpets, Birdman
That anyone would go to the trouble of making crumpets is heartwarming enough, but the dense texture, especially drenched with leatherwood honey, will make you a fan for life. 238 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9416 4747
13 Caramelised pear, toasted brioche and mascarpone, Beess and Co
Beess's breakfasts are enjoying cult status with early morning cyclists; join the peloton for a sweet fix in the form of soft pears coated in a perfect caramel sauce. Chunky slabs of brioche and fluffy mascarpone add to the decadence. 5/29 Bentham St, Yarralumla, ACT, (02) 6285 0116
14 Carrot pancakes, Grub Street
Egg- and gluten-free, these pancakes are made with chickpea flour revved up with cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. They come with creamy carrot hummus, house-made labne, spinach, a soft-yolked poached egg and a dollop of chef-owner Travis "Stix" Grigg's Indian-inspired red capsicum relish. Confirmed carnivores: go for broke and add fried chorizo slices. 1/440 Samford Rd, Gaythorne, Qld, (07) 3855 9580
15 Indian breakfast, Roma Bar
Give your inner hippy a thrill with the Indian breakfast at Roma Bar. The dhal - golden and aromatic with turmeric and laced with chilli slices and cumin seeds - is not bad on its own, but scoop it up with chunks of onion-flecked roti, top it with yoghurt and spike it with the tart house-made lemon pickle and you may just reach vegetarian breakfast nirvana. 9-11 Cavenagh St, Darwin, NT, (08) 8981 6729
16 Baked eggs and Poachers Pantry prosciutto, Smokehouse Café
No self-respecting Canberran pizza is complete without some of Poachers Pantry's fine smoked produce. It also works well in the Smokehouse Café's baked eggs brunch repertoire: salty, crisp prosciutto cuts through the layers of eggs, chives and rich washed-rind cheese. 431 Nanima Rd, Hall, ACT, (02) 6230 2487
17 Lobster thermidor omelette, Urban Bistro
Extravagance in grand order is available for those with luxe tastes in the form of the southern rock lobster thermidor omelette, though most customers opt for an equally delectable but more modest blue swimmer crab omelette with snow pea tendrils and bean sprouts. Modest indeed. 160 Fullarton Rd, Rose Park, SA, (08) 8331 2400
18 French toast, baked pear and raspberry coulis, Perrotta's at the Gallery
Sweet but not too sweet, Perotta's crisp-edged French toast made with brioche is served with a baked half pear, a generous splodge of King Island vanilla bean yoghurt and a caramel-rich raspberry coulis. It's a good-looking breakfast that warrants artistic praise from its Cairns Regional Gallery neighbours. Cnr Shields & Abbot sts, Cairns, Qld, (07) 4031 5899
19 Chipotle-spiced tortillas, Harveys
Fold a soft flour tortilla over a mixture of chipotle-spiced mince, navy beans, borlotti beans and baby lima beans, studded with fried potato and laced with coriander, cumin, fennel, caraway, cloves and cinnamon, sprinkle it with cheese, then put it under the grill to get a melted cheesey top. Add a little sour cream and avocado salsa on the side, a free-range soft-poached egg and a drizzle of chilli oil with mint on top. Now feel that hangover recede. Ahh. 4/31 James St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3852 3700
20 Steak and potatoes, Reef House
Sometimes you just need a steak. And sometimes that time is in the morning. Chow down here on a Morganbury sirloin from the Atherton Tablelands, a grilled tomato, and buttery sautéed kipfler potatoes and garlic. 99 Williams Esp, Palm Cove, Qld, (07) 4055 3633
21 Pho, An Restaurant
Pho is traditionally a breakfast dish; An Restaurant is open from seven in the morning till nine at night, and all they sell is pho, so you could look at it as the ultimate all-day-breakfast joint. Their core product is so vastly superior to any other Vietnamese beef noodle soup you'll see in Australia, so balanced in its flavours, so sublime in the slipperiness of its hand-cut rice noodles, so generous in its supply of basil, lemon, chilli and sprouts (plus sawtooth herb or vinegar-soaked onions if you want 'em), that it's almost shocking. 27 Greenfield Pde, Bankstown, NSW, (02) 9796 7826
22 Smoked salmon, poached egg, leek bread and butter pudding, West End Deli
Elevated by cheffy flourishes such as house-smoked salmon, this up-market Eggs Atlantic is typical of the culinary flair of this suburban corner shop par excellence. Bonus: the menu runs all day, meaning brekkie at the West End Deli is no longer just a pre-noon affair. 95 Carr St, West Perth, WA, (08) 9328 3605
23 Chakchouka with za'atar toast, The
A new chef is the final piece in the puzzle at this hugely popular spot. Check out their eggs baked into a spicy mix of red peppers, garlic, cumin and chorizo. The coffee is Golden Cobra, the tunes are vinyl and things are good. 31 Oxford St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9267 8434
24 Breakfast curry, Simpatico
Getting a curry craving early in the morning is no longer an issue. Remedy? A bowl of saucy Thai beef mussaman with chewy pan-fried southern Thai-style roti, cool yoghurt and tamarind chutney. What's not to like? Dishing weekends at Simpatico or weekdays at the owners' CBD café Sage on Ann. Simpatico, cnr Given & Latrobe tces, Paddington, Qld, (07) 3367 1117; Sage on Ann, 140 Ann St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3221 4471
25 Loukanika, feta and potato "omletta", Hellenic
They always do good eggs at Hellenic Republic's weekend-only breakfast, and one of the best combos is this one that pulls pieces of loukanika, creamy crumbled feta and chunks of pan-fried spud into a dish with hefty delicacy. 434 Lygon St, Brunswick East, Vic, (03) 9381 1222
26 Smoked salmon with 65/65 egg, Cumulus
Maybe it's just the idea of an egg poached in its shell for 65 minutes at 65C that's the appeal, but it sure seems that the result is creamier, gooier, tastier - especially paired with Tom Cooper's excellent smoked salmon, sourdough toast, shreds of sorrel, dill and some tart little apple matchsticks. 45 Flinders La, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9650 1445
27 Mrs Palmer and Her Five Daughters, Flamingo
A smooth, chilled juice of banana, pineapple, coconut cream, linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds and ice, this typically tropical number will set you up for the morning. For maximum impact, imbibe it with a piece of labne, avocado and tomato topped toast on the Astroturfed "lawn" at this kooky, colourful back-alley hangout. 5b Winn St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3252 7557
28 Eggs en cocotte, Pigeon Hole
Impeccable timing and a few tiny pickled Spanish onion slivers turn this dish of baked eggs with jamón serrano into something memorable. Then again, the raclette and onion panino and the house-made beans on house-made toast are pretty sensational, too. 93 Goulburn St, West Hobart, Tas, (03) 6236 9306
29 Poached fruits, toasted apple bread and vanilla yoghurt, Red Velvet Lounge
It's the house-baked apple bread, made from the best local fruit grown in the heart of Tasmania's apple country, that separates this from your average healthy breakfast. The poached fruits will be local, too - rhubarb and pear on our last visit. 24 Mary St, Cygnet, Tas, (03) 6295 0466
30 Savoury doughnuts, Jewel of the Park
Although curry abounds in Perth, India's wealth of breakfast dishes has been less thoroughly explored. Enter Jewel of the Park's newish brekkie menu where kuzhi paniyaram is the southern subcontinental answer to sweet muffins. These rice flour vadai "doughnuts" are great for dunkin', only it's sambal and chutney, not coffee, doing the honours. Jewel of the Park, 765 Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park, WA, (08) 9361 1041
31 Baghdad eggs, Richmond Hill Cafe
They've been around forever for a reason, these eggs. Fried in garlic butter, flavoured with lemon juice, cumin and mint, then served on freshly made flatbread, they pack an incredible flavour wallop while fulfilling all the right comforting and sustaining breakfast obligations. 48-50 Bridge Rd, Richmond, Vic, (03) 9421 2808
32 Burrito desayuno, That Little Mexican Place
Gavin Bower's breakfast Mexicana might only be available on weekends, but this tortilla-encased heart-starter of egg, potato, choko and cactus goes a long way to making the prospect of early-rising gringo-dom a pleasant one. Also available in TLMP's Victoria Park offshoot. 382 Fitzgerald St, North Perth, WA, (08) 9227 5755
33 Raspberry jam doughnuts, Smolt
Cooked in batches of only three or four at a time throughout the morning, the combination of feather-light fried dough and sugar cut with raspberry jam demands many return visits. 2 Salamanca Sq, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6224 2554
34 Breakfast trifle, Tricycle
This trifle in a glass is served with a long spoon so you can easily intermingle the layers of various poached fruits, yoghurt and the odd crunchy bit. And hey, there's a chance this is even healthy. 77 Salamanca Pl, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6223 7228
35 Fried mushrooms with manouri and almonds, Demitri's
This combination of mushrooms (fried in butter and sage), manouri cheese, toasted almonds, rocket and lemon oil is reason enough alone to struggle out of bed. 141 Swan St, Richmond, Vic (03) 9428 8659
36 Classic herb omelette, Dev'lish
A well-made omelette, flavoured with cheese and a generous quantity of herbs - and that's it. No unnecessary garnishes, no extras on the side. It stands alone. Delicious. 137 Macquarie St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6223 4050
37 Corned beef hash with poached egg and confit
cherry tomatoes, The Commons
Tempted as we may be by the ricotta with coffee-poached dates, pistachios and honey, we just can't say no to the trencherman's treat of a nest of corned beef shreds, potatoes and tomatoes housing a gooey slow-poached egg. 32 Burton St, Darlinghurst, NSW, (02) 9358 1487
38 Big breakfast calzone, Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander
One for the hungry and hungover, this calzone, cooked in a woodfired oven, is packed with ham, mushrooms, marinated feta and a fried egg. It hits the spot, particularly when teamed with a kicking Bloody Mary made with horseradish-infused vodka and house-made chilli vinegar. 336 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville, Vic, (03) 5962 6111
39 Mango and lime juice, Prayoon's Shakes, Rapid Creek Markets
Made-to-order tropical fruit drinks are one of the things that make Darwin's markets feel so much like a trip to Asia. Ice-cream, milk and honey with your banana and rockmelon? Maybe mango blended with lime juice? Speak up if you don't like it too sweet; the richness is up to you. Stalls selling juices and smoothies are at all of Darwin's markets, but try Prayoon's Shakes at Rapid Creek Markets on a Sunday morning. 48 Trower Rd, Rapid Creek, NT, (08) 8948 4866
40 Fried green eggs with kaiserfleisch and
tomato relish, Huxtable
Or fruit salad with buffalo yoghurt. Or French-toasted Glick's challah with poached rhubarb, Istra bacon and maple syrup. Or dashi-poached eggs with salmon and sesame spinach. These, along with the fact that you can have a draft beer with them, are just a few of the reasons we think this newcomer has shot so effortlessly to the top of the Smith Street breakfast hit parade. 131 Smith St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9419 5101
41 Breakfast fish cakes, Chianti Classico
This is where business tyros take power breakfasts with robust dishes equal to the occasion. Chef Toby Gush makes a gutsy smoked ocean trout and potato cake topped with poached free-range eggs and lifted by the tang of fresh salsa verde. 160 Hutt St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8232 7955
42 Ful medames, Kazbah
The hummus and merguez sausages flow thick and fast as Kazbah's faithful raid the menu for its Middle Eastern and North African flavours. The lamb-laden breakfast tagine is a favourite, as is the labne on za'atar bread, but for us it's all about the ful medames, a mash of chickpeas, broad beans and olive oil, common to the Arab reaches of the Mediterranean - served here with plenty of flatbread for dipping. 379 Darling St, Balmain, NSW, (02) 9555 7067
43 Corn cakes with bacon, chilli relish and sour cream, Mart 130
Having something of a cult following, these corn cakes have been on the Mart menu for years. The fanaticism is easy to understand - crisp-edged corn cakes tasting of coriander are layered with quality bacon and aided by sour cream and a house-made sweetish tomato relish with a hint of heat. The flavours come at you from all directions. 107a Canterbury Rd, Middle Park, Vic, (03) 9690 8831
Want to start every week of the year with a great breakfast? Here are nine more great breakfast ideas to top off these 43.
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