The 11 Best Cafes For Morning Business Meetings In Melbourne

There’s no need to sit around a boardroom table with a few stale croissants when you can get an early start and combine business and breakfast by some of Melbourne’s finest chefs. Here are Business Insider’s recommendations for great morning meeting cafes, so that even if the meeting is boring, at least the coffee is good.

Dead Man Espresso
35 Market St, South Melbourne. 9686 2255
Open from 7am

Bob Carr would love meeting here just for the steel cut oats porridge with poached fruit, while his ALP colleagues from the Victorian Right tuck into the campfire brekkie of pork and fennel sausage, bacon, mushies, Heinz spaghetti and eggs. Then there’s the BLT made from pork belly and spinach of brioche, and a potato and leek hash with pancetta and green tomato. Come for scones and jam, or later in the day, boutique beers and a clever little wine list.

Despite the name – a reference to the area’s early history as an outlying swampland settlement known as Canvas Town – it’s a youthfully fresh place, with folding chairs especially designed for them by LifeSpaceJourney, and a vibe as good as the Seven Seeds coffee.

Pope Joan
75-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East. 9388 8858
Open from 7.30am

Chef Matt Wilkson’s all-day diner is the sort of place you want to keep return to after work for drinks and bar snacks. His English heritage shows to start the day with rice pudding and rhubarb, and scrambled eggs with bacon, apple and cider sausage and house-made baked beans, but there’s also childhood delight in boiled eggs with soldiers and the crumbed, smoked ox tongue with poached egg, celeriac and caulifower remoulade is one of those wow-I-didn’t-know-that moments.

There’s a homely feel and vibe to Pope Joan and the providore shop next door lets you stock up for the evening meal, assuming you’re not here instead for chicken kiev or beef bourguignon.

Top Paddock
658 Church St, Richmond. 9429 4332
Open from 7am

The recent best cafe winner of The Age Good Cafe guide, you haven’t really lived until you’ve been here and had fried eggs with white anchovies, jamon, manchego cheese and padron peppers to kick-start the day, although Business Insider’s friends from the ‪Monday Morning Cooking Club reckon they also serve the best porridge ever.

This sprawling space has plenty of spots where you can find a nook to hunker down and chat. It’s fresh and bright, like a big atrium and the rustic paddock-to-plate philosophy of the food makes you feel a little more connected with the food you’re eating. Needless to say, the 5 Senses coffee is outstanding.

John Gorilla
49 Pearson St, West Brunswick 9005 8680
Open from 7:30am

As one fan said: “It’s so funky 1970s style, you actually grow a beard the minute you walk in. Even the ladies.”

We just love a menu where alongside porridge, house-made bircher muesli and the Big John’s breakfast of eggs with black pudding, bacon, tomato and salsa verde, there are seriously interesting alternatives such as braised black beans with cornbread crumble and aloo sabji: a spicy potato curry with fried eggs, coriander and raita; or a daily special of corn and chilli cakes with bacon and smashed avocado fetta mash.

Yes there’s a hip Single Origin coffee featured as well as Padre coffee, and the Larsen & Thompson teas are good too. John Gorilla is also a vision of the new possibilities in business: it was born out of a crowd-funded Pozible campaign, with several thousand raised in just a few days to get it up and running.

The European
161 Spring St, Melbourne, 9654 0811
Open from 7am

This Melbourne institution is where you start with a hearty working breakfast and then, after a long, long day, is one of the few still going and serving great food late into the evening. The European bistro feel makes it feel like the Paris end of the CBD. Amid the breakfast standards – crumpets, Bircher muesli, porridge and buttermilk pancakes there are interesting offering such as Spanish huevos madrilenos: baked eggs with black pudding and chorizo; Turkish baked eggs with chickpeas, imam bayildi and labnal, and if you’ve just sold your start up to Google for $20 million, there’s caviar with soft-boiled eggs, brioche and blinis for prices the accounts department will never believe.

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 9650 1445
Open from 7am

One of the city’s greatest chefs, Andrew McConnell, runs this bright, bustling eatery, with its butcher’s shop vibe, in the heart of the city. It’s no bookings and busy, but worth seeking out for the Full English breakfast with farmhouse slab bacon, black pudding, fried eggs and smoked tomato; and the great-value, all-in-one $16 breakfast of a boiled egg, toast, preserves, yoghurt, organic orange juice and coffee or tea.

The house-made crumpets with whipped ricotta and honey from the rooftop are also worth trying and as the day wears on, it’s worth ducking back here for charcuterie, interesting salads and perhaps as a team-building exercise, the whole slow-roast lamb shoulder to share. The great international wine list includes a bunch of impressive premium French drops.

Alimentari
251 Brunswick St, Fitzroy 9416 2001
Open from 8am

This Italian cafe and deli embodies that beloved phrase of out-of-towners: “It’s very Melbourne”. Some fans come for the big tables and wifi, others for the Italian worker’s breakfast of hard boiled egg, salami, fresh tomato, olives and buffalo mozzarella, or semolina porridge with poached fruit. It’s worth coming to ogle the deli range and perhaps shop for dinner that night and also leave with a chicken schnitzel wrap or tuna and broccoli panini for lunch.

Petty Officer
113 Victoria Ave, Albert Park
Open from 7am

This sibling to Axil coffee roasters of Hawthorn (there’s a Flinders Lane espresso bar too) takes coffee seriously, sourcing and roasting its own, offering a single origin coffee alongside the house blend, as well as making filter coffees.

The all-day breakfast menu runs from buttermilk waffles with raspberry compote to spicy baked eggs with goat feta and hazelnut dukkah (pictured) and roasted field mushrooms with broad beans and taleggio cheese. If you’re the sort of person who understands and discusses Chemex, Aeropress, Clever Dripper and V60 Pour Over the same way you do the ASX, IPOs and EBITDA, then this is the cafe for you.

Station Street Trading Co
166 Station Street, Port Melbourne 9646 6663
Open from 7.30am

This lovely, heritage street corner cottage with its verandah-c0vered footpath tables next to a park and near North Port train station is a good head-clearing space for sweetcorn fritters, the delicious smoked salmon morning salad of zucchini, capers, rocket and fennel jam with a poached egg, or eggs served several ways, most amusingly, scrambled with bacon in a ciabatta roll and nicknamed the ‘Big Dog’. The coffee is by Sydney’s Allpress.

Il Solito Posto
113 Collins St, Melbourne. 9654 4466
Open from 7.30am

This wonderful, old school Italian trattoria and cafe is the basement setting you come for a discrete gathering – although you may recognise several of the other tables also trying to discretely cut a deal. An institution renowned for great service, the menu is straightforward – pastries, muffins, toast, mozarella omelettes and eggs with an Italian twist, such as the bruschetta of mushrooms, poached egg and rocket. The Avocado toast with chilli, parsley, lemon and Moorish yoghurt is as exotic as it gets, and pretty darned good too.

Market Lane Coffee
Prahan Market, 163 Commercial Road, Prahran 9804 7434

(also 109 Therry Lane, Melbourne CBD; 176 Faraday Street, Carlton and Dairy Produce Hall, Queen Victoria Market).
Open from 7am

Five years on, this roastery remains one of the city’s best coffee spots, populated with the sort of baristas who end up with podium finishes at coffee world cup competitions. The open breezy warehouse vibe, with its Tolix stools and scrubbed timbers makes it easy to find a corner for an intimate chat, though you may well be distracted by a debate of the relative merits of Bolvia v Brazil – coffees, not World Cup matches – and espresso v pour over.

There’s not a lot to eat – a few cakes, some pastries, bread and jam, and muesli, but if you really want to start your day with a buzz, share the 3-coffee pour over flight. As Market Lane says: they make coffee for the city that loves to drink it.

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