The Best Brunch Dishes in Melbourne According To Luci Restaurant’s Sam Moore

Photo by Kristoffer Paulsen

In the brunch capital of Australia, Melbourne, choosing a brunch place can be seriously overwhelming. Executive chef of the Hilton’s new Luci Restaurant Sam Moore, shares his favourite brunch bites and where best to get them in.

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Chez Dré / Facebook

Chez Dré’s Croque-Monsieur

Chez Dré is a warehouse converted cafe and bakery, which holds a bustling hub of French-inspired sweet and savoury delights. They serve all-day brunch and fresh pastries daily. Having been around since 2011, pastry chef Andrea (Dre) Reiss and business partner Stephen Sam are pretty well-known in South Melbourne, spending six months converting the warehouse into a bakery and serving unmatched pastries ever since.

Moore is a pretty big fan of their Croque-Monsieur.

“Whenever I visit South Melbourne market or Chef’s Hat, I always visit Chez Dré. I enjoy the vibe from the converted warehouse and the French-inspired brunch menu. My go-to dish is the Croque-Monsieur with smoked ham, emmental cheese, dijon mustard, béchamel.”

You can order pastries online or book here.

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Photo by Patrick Varney

Abacus Bar & Kitchen’s Blue Swimmer Crab Crumpets

Abacus Bar & Kitchen serves up honest seasonal food in South Yarra. It’s sustainability-focused with menus that are named after the seasons, capturing different moods and seasonal ingredients, with a great all-day offering – including booze. 

Moore has two dishes that he raves about from Abacus, although the Blue Swimmer Crab Crumpets are pretty unbeatable.

“I like walking around with my partner on Chapel Street and, of course, through the bustling Prahran Markets. We often find ourselves at Abacus Bar & Kitchen. The menu has an honest approach and I love the casual dining experience. I have two favourite dishes here. First, the Blue swimmer crab crumpets, – which come with sourdough crumpets, paired with asparagus, cod roe hollandaise, egg, and finger lime oil. The second is the chilli folded eggs.”

You can book now via their website.

@mister.hoffman.cafe via Instagram

Mister Hoffman’s Vanilla Bean Porridge

Located in Niddrie, in the northwest of Melbourne, Mister Hoffman has” impeccable service and that modern Australian flare”, according to Sam Moore. 

“I enjoy their simplicity and the ingredient-driven approach of the menu. My go-to dish is the vanilla bean porridge with poached pear, rhubarb compote and granola.”

Mister Hoffman’s menu is inspired by memories of their “Oma’s oven”, and is the definition of wholesome. It’s the perfect place for a heart-warming breakfast or brunch in the burbs.

You can just walk in. 

@hardwardsociete via Instagram

Hardware Société’s Baked Eggs with Chorizo

It should be noted with the impact of COVID, their original Paris café in Hardware Lane was forced to close, however, Hardware Société is pretty beloved for their French Parisian flair, both in decor and in food and drink offerings. With their Katherine Place venue still going strong, their menu ranges from confit duck, to a lobster benedict, to fried brioche and to Moore’s favourite; baked eggs.

“I really love the baked eggs with chorizo, spiced tomato concassé and black olives. It’s simply put, it’s just so delicious. There’s a reason why at one stage, it made up one-quarter of the daily orders.”

Book here.

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Via Porta / Facebook (French Toast Doughnut)

Via Porta’s Eggs In Arrabiata with Nduja Butter AND French Toast Doughnut with Blood Orange Compressed Peaches

Via Porta is a breath of fresh air, clean linen, strong coffee and cured meats. Part eatery, part wine bar, part deli and provedore, you won’t find yourself ever leaving empty-handed. Open every day from 7am – 3pm (except Sundays, closing at 2:30pm), Via Porta isne of the best breakfast/brunch/lunch places in Melbourne, bringing a little slice of Southern Italy to Mont Albert, 

“You can’t top the good times provided by going to brunch and deli at the same time. I love the Italian-inspired menu. My favourites dishes, hands down, are the Eggs In Arrabiata with Nduja Butter and the French Toast Doughnut with blood orange compressed peaches.”

YUM. Walk ins only.

@lucimelbourne via Instagram

Luci Restaurant’s Brown Butter Pancakes

Of course, we must talk about Moore’s very own Luci Restaurant. Located down in the business end of the city, inside the new Hilton Hotel, it’s literally like stepping into a scene from Mad Men. Dripping with Italian decadence and a touch of modern minimalism, Luci strives to offer its customers an all-day dining offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

“The must-try dish is the brown butter pancakes. We’re talking caramelised banana with smoked chocolate sauce,” says Moore, and tbh, we don’t need any more convincing. 

Book a table at Luci now via their website.

Want Moore from Sam? You can follow Sam’s adventures on Instagram at @chefsammoore and @lucimelbourne.

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