The Best Cafes in Preston for a Coffee Catch Up or Brunch

by Kate Stewart

Jackson Dodds Preston

I’m on a mission to discover the best cafes in Australia. This time, I’m in Melbourne, visiting the best cafes in Preston. I’m determined to go right round this beautiful country of ours and narrow in on regions, cafes and coffee roasters to find exactly where the best cafes are.

Preston is a Melbourne suburb located 9 km north of the CBD. A vibrant suburb, known for having incredible diversity. Preston has strong ties to the Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Chinese, African, Middle Eastern and Indian communities. With strong working-class roots, Preston is a bit of an underdog with a former reputation for being a rough part of town. But Preston is transforming into a beautiful suburb with a very diverse and energetic population.

There are plenty of delicious cheap eats all over Preston. There are also well-stocked record stores, op shops and fabulous bric-a-brac emporiums. Eclectic pockets of bars, vintage shops and barbers are scatted right across Preston. With such a wonderful diversity of restaurants and cafes, you will wonder if you ever need to leave. You can sit-and-sip on locally crafted beer at a handful of breweries or enjoy a glass of wine at Jamsheed Urban Winery. The Preston Market is amazing. Locals much prefer to support small businesses and love the variety the market provides. The atmosphere, noise and smells of the market are unrivalled.

But the last couple of years have been really tough on small businesses all over Preston. Now sadly, you can walk through any part of the suburb and see local cafes who have had to close their doors.

I am determined to help in any way I can. I’m dedicating my blog, to finding the best Cafes in Australia and shine a light on them. It’s time to get out and support your wonderful local cafes. I have already uncovered fabulous cafes in Richmond, amazing cafes in Port Melbourne and brilliant cafes in South Yarra. Now, I’m in Preston.  

Knowing exactly where to go to get a delicious brunch and smooth coffee is so hard. No-one likes being disappointed with a bad breky. So, I’ve done the hard yards. After many lattes, bacon and egg rolls, avo on toasts and so many long brunches. I’ve narrowed it down to 6 of the best cafes in Preston.

I’m so excited to share. Let’s get going.

The Line Up

Moon Rabbit

Moon Rabbit Preston

Located at 218 High Street Preston. Moon Rabbit trains young people with learning and other disabilities in hospitality. The café is reimagining the hospitality space by putting people and the planet first. A 26-week pilot program sees six students rotate through one- to two-hour shifts which complements the classroom training they also receive.

The Moon Rabbit team has a vibrant mix of staff, trainees and volunteers. Your coffee may be served by the manager or by a trainee in their first week on the job.

Out the front there are 35 seats and several different nooks. There are planter boxes made from recycled pallets and a synthetic turf lounge with cushions.

The cafe serves jaffles, house-made slices and Padre Coffee. Moon Rabbit is also environmentally responsible, and it supports the local community. The menu is simple. It’s vegetarian, vegan and halal-friendly, and only two of the seven jaffles contain meat. The Lambo is spiced Moroccan lamb, sweet-potato hummus, lemon zest and feta. There is also a delicious coffee-soaked French-toast jaffle with caramelised banana, berry coulis and Nutella.

Cakes and slices are baked daily. The caramel, lemon and hedgehog slices are fabulous. As are the gluten-free Florentines and other classics.

All takeaway food is served in paper bags, cardboard boxes or glass jars. Reusable Moon Rabbit cups are available to buy. Customers are also encouraged to bring their own mugs or donate an old one.

In addition to their café in Preston, Moon Rabbit also offers a mobile café, Moon Rabbit on the Hop. A budget-friendly bulk foods collective and zero-waste catering for meetings and special events.

Contraband Coffee Traders

Contraband Coffee Roasters

Located in Shop 9 on the Corner of Cramer and Mary Street Preston. Contraband Coffee Traders serves up some of the very best coffee in Preston. While the café is located in the Preston Market and is confined to a standard stall, there’s still a decent amount of room for customers to sit.

Contraband Coffee Traders live and breathe coffee. They believe that the appreciation and enjoyment of their product, from crop to cup, brings out exceptional results. They strive to only source coffee that has been sustainably and ethically grown. They purchase their coffee through importers who deal directly with farmers at origin, ensuring full traceability of the supply chain.

Beans are roasted at Fitzroy’s Newtown Specialty Coffee.  Coffee is definitely king here, but there is also a delicious selection of locally made desserts which includes vegan and gluten-free options.

Boundary Espresso

Boundary Espresso Preston

Located at 107 Boundary Road Preston. Boundary Espresso serves organic coffee, brunch and gourmet baked goods in a cosy, hip corner cafe with rustic-chic decor. The Café is a small space with just a few tables out the front and a few more inside.

Boundary Espresso serves up dishes that are unfussy and delicious. On the menu there is a fabulous Baked Eggs with warm spicy chorizo sausage, topped with preserved lemon guacamole and served with sourdough toast. The grilled field mushrooms, with truffle oil and parmesan on sourdough toast is amazing. But I love the House-made Muesli. It comes with rolled oats, dates, dried cranberries, pepitas, flaked almonds and linseeds. It is served layered with yoghurt and topped with seasonal fruit and honey.

For lunch there is an Asian Chicken Roll with smoked chicken, Asian coleslaw, sesame mayo, fresh coriander, crispy shallots and a chilli peanut dressing on a brioche bun. If I’m looking for something a bit naughty, I always go for the Grilled Haloumi burger. It is grilled haloumi, caramelised sumac onions, tomato, lettuce and a lemon mayonnaise on a brioche bun. 

Coffee Supreme supplies the house blend, plus a rotating single-origin. Then there’s Leaf organic tea and organic soft drinks. There is also a wide selection of delicious looking cakes if you need a sugar fix.

Jackson Dodds

Jackson Dodds Preston

Located at 611 Gilbert Road Preston. Jackson Dodds is a fabulous breakfast and brunch cafe in Preston. Their team is made up of a diverse mix of crazy individuals with a singular goal in mind. Great food, good vibes and great customer service.

The café is full of local mums with toddlers, students and nearby workers during the week, with families converging on the weekends. Whether you’re looking for an early morning caffeine hit or a Sunday morning pick-me-up, Jackson Dodds has you covered. The all-day menu is unique and innovative. There are plenty of old classics like avo on toast, delicious omelettes and ricotta pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup. Then there are new concoctions like a Beef Brisket Benny, Bao Chicka Bao Bao and Jacks Breakfast which comes with avocado, poached eggs, spinach and grilled haloumi.

Delicious coffee blends are supplied by Coffee Supreme, plus there is an always growing selection of teas to choose from.

Eat Cannoli

Eat Cannolli Preston

Located at 32 Wood St Preston. Eat Cannoli started out, rolling their delicious cannoli for markets, festivals and events before opening their store in 2017. Eat Cannoli are a new school of Cannoli makers. They pay homage to traditions of the past whilst breaking a few rules to create 100% gluten free cannoli in several flavour sensations. They even make a vegan cannoli.  

Amazing customer service is their ethos. Everything is made from scratch at their Preston shop. On the menu there is a delicious Ricotta Cannoli with whipped ricotta, candied orange, chocolate chips and sweetened with fresh hive honey. The Chocolate Cannoli is amazing with rich chocolate and coconut cream.

But my favourite of all, is definitely the Passionfruit Cheesecake. 

Cannoli is definitely king here. But there is also a delicious selection of Panini’s, coconut hotcakes and a mouth-watering schnitz with thick cut chips. The Zucchini Fritters Panini is outstanding with mozzarella, peppers and rocket. So to the Cotaletta with crumbed chicken, mozzarella, cabbage mayo and rocket.

Arepa Days

Arepa Days Preston

Located at 25 Preston Street Preston. Arepa Days is a funky little café with authentic styled Spanish food and amazing condiments. On a side street off Preston’s busy main strip. This light filled cafe has an open kitchen and a turntable playing fabulous South American vinyl.

On the menu there are 9 topped arepas including the Salad Pocket with carrot, beetroot, tomato, guacamole and coriander. The Egg and Bacon Pocket is amazing with two free range eggs, Istra bacon and BBQ sauce. The Pollo Pocket is also delicious with chargrilled free-range chicken, guacamole, coriander and lime.

There are also fabulous rice bowls and empanadas. Jugs of Colombian hot chocolate are spiced with cinnamon and cloves. There’s also raw sugarcane juice and fresh juices made from passionfruit, as well as amazing coffee by Brunswick’s Wood and Co coffee.