If you’re from Melbourne, you’re used to being spoilt for choice when it comes to wonderful cafes. It seems there are great cafes down every street and around every corner. I’m on a mission to discover these cafes, the best cafes in Australia. This time, I’m in Melbourne, visiting the best cafes in Moonee Ponds. 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.
Moonee Ponds is an inner suburb of Melbourne, 7 km north-west of Melbourne's CBD. The Maribyrnong River forms the western boundary of Moonee Ponds. Its wide sweeping banks curve through Moonee Ponds and its neighbouring suburbs. The banks are lined with parklands, sporting facilities and fabulous walking trails and cycling paths. The commercial heart of Moonee Ponds can be found along vibrant Puckle Street. Puckle street includes a collection of cosmopolitan shops and a variety of restaurants and trendy cafes, many with seating outside on the footpath.
But the last couple of years have been really tough on small cafes all over Moonee Ponds. 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 Melbourne CBD and brilliant cafes in Preston. Now, I’m in Moonee Ponds.
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 5 of the best cafes in Moonee Ponds.
I’m so excited to share. Let’s get going
The Line Up
Located at 146 Athol St Moonee Ponds. Darling Street Espresso is an oasis off the busy streets of Melbourne. Originally a red brick corner store, the space has been expertly renovated into the most relaxing café. There’s definitely something Zen about Darling Street Espresso. Maybe it’s the fabulous natural light, or perhaps the wonderful fit out. It’s the type of café I could happily spend all day. Each time I visit, I find it so calming. There’s even a sunny courtyard out the back, perfect for those with prams or those dining with their furry little friends.
Darling Street Espresso is a family run café which serves a creative menu with the best ingredients. Everything is made in house with nothing but locally sourced produce. In fact, much of it is sourced from the cafe’s kitchen garden in nearby Riddles Creek.
On the menu there is a great Smashed Avo on Toast, Chilli Scramble and a Creamy Oat Porridge with chia, raspberry jam, seasonal berries, toasted seeds, pistachio crumble and puffed rice. The Green Bowl is the best. It comes with kale, brown rice, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, edamame, green beans, currents, vegan whipped pea ricotta and toasted seeds is the best. They also have a delicious Cheesy Cheeseburger, build your own Toasties and a delicious Pulled Pork Burger.
Industry Beans supplies the delicious coffee, which includes a cold drip, a single-origin espresso with a piccolo chaser and a tasting-paddle of three different types of coffee. There’s also fresh pressed juices, milkshakes and super smoothies.
Try the Winter Berry Blast, it’s amazing. It comes with blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, honey, mint and almond milk.
Located at 154 Pascoe Vale Road Moonee Ponds. Brother Hen first opened its doors way back in 2015. The café looks unassuming from the street, but once inside you will discover the large open dining space, leading out to a truly amazing courtyard with a thriving vegetable garden. The menu is always fresh and seasonal as each of their delicious dishes is based on what’s on offer in their fabulous courtyard garden. They even have a family of very friendly hens at the café. It’s a family friendly café and is really one of Moonee Ponds best cafes. My kids love it here, they are forever asking when we can pop back.
Serving a seasonal menu with all day breakfast options. There is a mouth-watering Spanish Baked Eggs which is baked in a bean and chiziro ragu with Manchego, goat curd and basil oil on charred sourdough. The Ham Hock Benny is always a popular dish with slow braised hock, organic apple cider hollandaise, with green apple and mint salad, black salt and sourdough. If you’re feeling hungry later in the day, you could try the Vietnamese Salad with wombok, cucumber, green apple, fried shallots, caramel chilli, fresh Asian herbs, peanuts, rice noodles and ponzu dressing. There is also a Classic Fried Chicken Burger, a Southern Fried Chicken Burger, a delicious looking Beef Burger and some amazing Steamed Gua Baos.
Located at 20 Young Street Moonee Ponds. Young Street Café is known all over town for its delicious sandwiches and friendly service. It’s a real local’s hangout and has a line out the door on a regular basis. The café serves breakfast, lunch and also supplies catering for nearby offices and events. On the breakfast menu there is a delicious Breakfast Roll with fried eggs, bacon, tomato, mushroom, spinach, avocado and tomato relish. The Chilli Eggs is one of their most popular dishes with sunny side eggs, nduja, roasted peppers and fresh chilli on house made sourdough. There is also an amazing naughty treat, it’s the Fried Cheese Sandwich with provolone cheese, tasty cheese and parmesan cheese on house made sourdough. You can never have enough cheese.
The lunch menu includes a wide selection of sandwiches. There is the Young Street, which is chicken schnitzel, lettuce, mushroom, bacon, Swiss cheese and dijonnaise. The Vegetarian Delight is fabulous. It is a toasted house made focaccia with basil pesto, Kalamata olives, artichoke, semi dried tomato, mushroom, peppers, potato, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini and tasty cheese.
There is also a lovely selection of fresh rolls and warm and cold salads to choose from.
Located at 99 Puckle Street Moonee Ponds. Sir Duke is a lovely little café serving an exceptional array of dishes, focused on locally grown produce. The atmosphere, layout, staff and the delicious menu makes Sir Dukes a firm favourite. The all-day menu covers breakfast, lunch and everything in between. No matter what you have a hankering for, Sir Duke has a delicious option. It doesn’t matter if its Saturday morning brunch or afterwork drinks during the week, the friendly staff will make sure you’re well looked after.
On the menu for breakfast there is the Aussie Dream. It is crushed avocado, herbs, red shisho, watermelon radish, pomegranate, dukkah and crumbled feta served on organic sourdough. The Smitten for Shrooms is magnificent. It is sautéed seasonal mushrooms, thyme and salted ricotta served on organic sourdough with cannellini puree and crispy enoki. There are also all kinds of eggs on toast and a selection of gourmet sandwiches. For lunch or dinner there is a Chicken and Mushroom Rigatoni. It’s creamy chicken and mushroom tossed with rigatoni, spinach and parmesan. There is also a selection of fresh salads and delicious pizzas to choose from.
My favourite is the Pumpkin Pizza with pumpkin, pesto, red onion, cheese and buffalo mozzarella.
Located at 320 Ascot Vale Road Moonee Ponds. Ascot Food and Wine is a cafe that doesn’t rest on its laurels. It boasts delicious food with a unique menu that’s perfect for a weekend meal. Its always busy and often so hard to find a table. But when I can, I love to try and find a table out the front and enjoy a delicious brunch in the sun.
Co-owned by celebrity couple Shaun Hampson and Megan Gale. Ascot Food and Wine is the kind of venue you go for the food and stay for the warm hospitality. On the breakfast menu there are Corn Fritters with avocado, pickles, tomato jam and poached egg. The Chilli Eggs with chimichurri and garden herbs are delicious. For brunch you can have a delicious Ricotta Tortellini with Spencer Gulf whole king prawns and fermented chilli butter. There is also a Slow Roasted Cauliflower with cashew cream, mushroom XO, crisp chilli and chive.
The coffee is supplied by St Ali Coffee Roasters and is always on point. There’s also a selection of fresh doughnuts that go oh so well with your daily cup.