A day in the inner-north of Melbourne will inevitably start with a cafe breakfast. I'd wager that the Brunswick/Fitzroy/Collingwood wedge of the city has as many fine brunch places per square metre as anywhere in the world (consider for starters: CERES, Cafe 3a, El Mirage, Empire, Gingerlee, Green Refectory, Minimo, Ray, Small Block, Tom Phat, North, Seven Seeds, The Bell Jar, Mixed Business, Cibi, The Mercy Seat, Proud Mary, Arcadia, Babka, Bebida, Birdman, Dench, Ici, Julio, Min Lokal, Mitte & North Island). But for both geographical and other reasons, we're going to start you off at quintessential Brunswick cafe A Minor Place (our two breakfast reviews can be found here and here).
Tucked away on a residential street, midway between the Lygon St and Sydney Rd tramlines, A Minor Place is the perfect way to start your 12 hour tour. If the sun is shining, grab a seat on one of the outdoor tables, otherwise get friendly with the locals at the big communal table or cram yourself into one of the smaller spots. If you're there at 9 you shouldn't have a problem finding a seat, but by 10:30 or so things are usually heaving.
The coffee, while sometimes slow to come out, it always top notch here - they use their own blend (now for sale at sister venue Wide Open Road - another addition to the list of brunch places above!) and have never served me a mediocre cup.
Similarly, the food here is consistently excellent. In particular, their famously delicious Henry's beans are rich with garlic and rosemary, and unbeatable with a squeeze of lemon. You can have a plate full of them (served up with dukkah and toast) or use them as a component in a more varied breakfast. I order something based around these beans almost every time we visit (the pumpkin cornbread they're pictured with below is, alas, no longer on the menu).
There are heaps of other savoury options - scrambled eggs, avocado and grapefruit on toast, as well as some lunchier toastie style dishes and a a couple of bagel-based delights. For some reason Cindy often ends up ditching her usual sweets-based approach to breakfast when we come here - she's often drawn to the New York style bagel avocado, dukkah & lemon with dill & caper cream cheese pictured below.
She's also a fan of their breakfast quesadilla, with refried beans, jaleponos, corn salsa and cheese.
Prices are pretty reasonable - $15 gets you a pretty massive brekkie, while you can feast on a plate full of Henry's delicious beans for a mere tenner. Vegans can eat well here - mainly because the beans are animal product free, although there's also more standard stuff like the avo on toast and they often provide one or two vegan cakes amongst their set of sweet stuff. The service is always friendly, although occasionally a bit ramshackle. There's just a lovely atmosphere to the place as well - despite a few Brunswick clichés it somehow avoids falling completely into ridiculous hipster territory, so you don't need to be embarrassed if you turn up riding a bike with gears.
Once your food has settled and the caffeine has started to kick in, you're ready to take on the rest of the day. From here, Cindy and I are parting ways for a couple of hours and it's up to you who you'd like to keep company with. Would you rather: