Ah, the breakfast meeting. Increasingly popular with the business crowd but a logistical mine field. Let’s face it: it’s tough to manage bleary eyes while getting your A-game on. When choosing a venue to talk strategy over sausages, the list of essentials includes a central location that’s easy to get to and a t-out with a spring in its step. A place with enough energy to get the pulse going but enough class to feel professional. A menu that rises above the everyday. And don’t forget excellent coffee. It’s not just the eggs that need to be sunny side up; it’s you, too.
A. Baker, Canberra
Did someone say industrial? A. Baker, the artisanal bakery in Canberra’s hip NewActon district, doubles down on the rough-edged cool factor with exposed concrete laced with the charred reminder of the fire that ousted the previous tenant. It’s part café-restaurant, part bakery and the menu ranges from smashed avocado to broken-rice pudding and soba noodle broth with smoked pork and slow-cooked egg, seasoned with black garlic and chilli oil. It’s all made with local produce, which means you can taste the ACT terroir. Yes, A. Baker gives the lie to Canberra as a culinary backwater, one perfect almond croissant at a time.
Brooke Street Larder, Hobart
With a location par excellence – it sits in a shed at the end of the Brooke Street Pier, jutting into the harbour, yet is close to central Hobart – Brooke Street Larder could rest on its scenic laurels but chooses not to. The menu is proudly Tasmanian. Huon smoked salmon, for example, is served with its roe, accompanying eggs Benedict on toasted sourdough. Not hugely adventurous, perhaps, but solidly executed. The coffee’s good but the luxe hot chocolates have their own fan club and the water views are unsurpassed. Plus, they kindly supply blankets if dining alfresco gets too chilly.
Gowings Bar & Grill, Sydney
With the playful irreverence that is the hallmark of QT hotels and the menu smarts of food director Robert Marchetti, Gowings Bar & Grill (pictured at top) is a Sydney breakfast favourite. Gilt, ochre leather and objets d’art give it style, while the trendy menu (superfood omelettes, black- truffle scrambled eggs and, yes, eggs Rockefeller with black caviar and hollandaise on brioche) gives it substance.
Location counts and Post has the best in town: the franking room at the original Perth GPO. Now the in-house hotel diner at Como The Treasury, it’s on a (successful) mission with Como Shambhala menu options to prove that tasty and healthy are not mutually exclusive concepts. To wit: dishes such as zucchini rösti with smoked salmon, dill and lemon cottage cheese; egg white and kale omelette with mushrooms and roasted tomato; and energising fresh juices. The décor – a smart trussed ceiling, herringbone timber floor and Scandi-chic furnishings – will lift early-morning spirits.
Higher Ground, Melbourne
It’s not just breakfast at Higher Ground, the bigger-than-Ben-Hur production from the group behind Melbourne’s famed Top Paddock. It’s occasion dining. It’s architectural statement (the former power station is now a spectacular split-level dining room that capitalises on its excellent bone structure). It’s a place to see and be seen, though it also has private nooks. And great coffee from Square One roasters is backed by a menu that switches insouciantly from the wholesome yet delicious (steamed fish in Japanese noodle broth) to the not-so-wholesome but still delicious (Berkshire bacon sarnie with sauce gribiche).