First impressions count in the business world, which is why breakfast is becoming the most important meal of the working day. Meeting and greeting or swapping corporate intel over coffee and toast (or smashed avocado and fermented chilli) is the new norm so make it count by choosing a venue with good looks, great food and service with style. After all, it’s the early bird that catches the deal.
Don’t be fooled – the innovative menu at Gauge has made it one of Brisbane’s dinner hotspots but its indoor-outdoor location has plenty of tricks up its sleeve for the breakfast crowd. Where else will you find dishes such as coal-grilled pineapple with lime labne, sweet pistachio dukkah and basil? Or have the chance to fire up your morning with pork bolognese, cabbage, fermented chilli and fried egg in a brioche roll? Just add specialty coffee by Byron Bay’s Marvell Street Coffee Roasters and other single-origin coffees on rotation and you’ve got the recipe for a great Brissie breakfast.
Higher Ground, Melbourne | 2017 Winner
Proof that the café is the new restaurant, Higher Ground is the undisputed king of the Melbourne food scene, thanks in no small part to its transformation of a power station into a multi-tiered industrial-chic wonder. It’s more West 29th Street, New York, than Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, but there’s more than mere real estate to attract the executive breakfaster. The tables can be booked, the coffee from Square One roasters is best in show and the inventive menu will add spiced cauliflower to scrambled eggs and buffalo yoghurt to strawberry chia pudding.
The Grounds of the City, Sydney
The city offshoot of The Grounds of Alexandria is a rare instance of incredible style meeting its equal in substance. The sumptuous yesteryear fit-out (think the Orient Express crossed with a fin-de-siècle Viennese coffee house – perfect for impressing your guests) is matched blow for blow by edible elegance such as the hot-smoked trout tart or king crab omelette. The important caffeine factor is taken care of by a roving barista who will guide you through a world of choice, including espresso, V60 pour-over, batch brew (with an optional bottomless cup) and cold brew – or perhaps an Espresso Martini if your meeting runs headlong into lunch.
You can’t fail to get your breakfast mojo on at Muse, the hardworking café, wine bar and bookshop at Kingston’s East Hotel, which proves that breakfast and books do make excellent bedfellows. Browse new and second-hand titles on the ground floor before retiring to the spacious upper level to start your gustatory day with a solid menu of freshly baked croissants, eggs and haloumi, among other sides, or even a baked soufflé made with aged Tasmanian cheddar and double- smoked ham. Just add sparkling literary conversation and enjoy.
Petition Kitchen, Perth
The revamp of the heritage State Buildings – including the business traveller magnet of Como The Treasury hotel – has put Perth on the national map but you can book a table at Petition Kitchen (pictured at top) and jump the breakfast queue. And yes, there are lines. They’re waiting for eggwhite omelettes with Zuni pickle and sheep’s fetta or a mighty black pudding hash brown brioche roll with streaky bacon and fried egg. Whether you swing Yin or Yang, it’s the best breakfast in the west, accompanied by Mano a Mano coffee and enjoyed amid a fit-out that insouciantly marries 135 years of built history with the design du jour.