HIGHER GROUND
650 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

We arrived…

for an early Saturday lunch in the hopes we might beat the rush. We hadn't. But after learning that we could still enjoy a coffee and a Bloody Mary while we waited, we added our names to the list and soaked up the sunshine.

We chose here because… Our favourite barista Lucy used to work here and recommended it. Located on Little Bourke Street, it's a great spot if you're enjoying a city break and easy walking distance from the river. Self-described as "not quite a café, not quite a restaurant," Higher Ground serves breakfast and lunch, seven days a week, with dinner service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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Our first impression was… Yikes, this is hectic. Groups of people were clustered around the entrance and it seemed we might never get a look in. But once you find the lovely man with the iPad, you'll be right. We gave our names, placed our drink order and sat down for a pleasant 20-minute wait. Located in an old power station, it's a huge space that can feed a lot of hungry people so turnover is swift and you won't be waiting as long as you first feared.

We started with…

The fanciest scrambled eggs we've ever encountered. Served with spiced cauliflower, curry leaf and roasted chilli on homemade flatbread, they came highly recommended by our waiter – and she wasn't wrong. Delicious. We also sampled the roast pumpkin with Tasmanian miso, stracciatella, toasted seeds and farro. Also a winner.

The highlight was… the gluten-free bread. Which if you know anything about gluten-free bread, you'll know it's never a highlight. But this stuff was extraordinary. Light and fluffy, it was the polar opposite of the dense cardboard served in so many establishments. Apparently, you can buy loaves direct from the kitchen and if I lived in Melbourne, I'd have a standing order.

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Dessert was…

not on the cards for us – we had shopping to get to. But we did treat ourselves to a couple of cocktails, including a red grape spritz ($AUD16). What better way to start the day?

Come here if… you're not in a hurry and have the time to indulge in a delicious meal, with a side of top-notch people watching.

The bill… came to $127, which included brunch for two, plus two rounds of coffee and cocktails.

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