Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, and there’s no shortage of places in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges to enjoy a long and leisurely morning spread. And if you thought brekky was just cereal and eggs on toast, think again. From the traditional eggs benedict to Nutella ravioli, and fancy jaffles, you won’t want to sleep in and skip straight to lunch.
On Healesville’s main street is Habituel, a small bakery that is big on quality bread – their organic sourdough starter, affectionately known as “Leroy”, gives the loaves a unique flavour. Get your fill of carbs with sourdough toast and spreads, or if you’re a jaffle fan, get your fix with fancy fillings like truffled mushroom and scamorza cheese; smoked ham, comte and Dijon mustard; or house-made chorizo baked beans. For a sweet treat, cakes and pastries are made daily on site, and they also roast their own free-trade, organic coffee beans. With takeaway also available, this place – from the team behind the nearby Giant Steps winery - is a good spot to roll into. Details: habituel.com.au or (03) 5957 3230.
Round Bird Can’t Fly
Round Bird Can’t Fly is a popular choice among Lilydale’s thriving café scene, and with the menu featuring sections including “Simplicity = Happiness”, “Just put good produce on the plate”, and “Yarra Valley vegans”, it’s no surprise. From the fried Nutella ravioli to nutrition bowls, tofu scrambles and the always-popular smashed avocado, there is something to satisfy everyone. And it’s not just a place for great breakfast - it’s also an art gallery, and a food store stocking artisan-roasted coffee, milk, organic bread, and house-made relishes from local suppliers. Details: roundbird.com.au or (03) 9735 9724.
Kallista Tea Rooms
This almost-70-year-old eatery’s slogan is “not just tea and scones” and that’s exactly what it delivers. The Kallista Tea Rooms, which first opened in 1950 as a teahouse, offers an all-day breakfast menu with everything from eggs on toast (add in extra sides), to ginger-spiced granola, and beetroot fritters. There’s vegan and gluten-free fare, and if you are in the mood for some early-morning treats, you can’t go past the traditional scones with strawberry or mixed berry jam and double cream – or go all out with the Nutella variation. Details: kallista-tearooms.com.au or (03) 9755 2659.
The General Food Store, Emerald
This Emerald eatery’s menu changes monthly, taking advantage of seasonal ingredients. There are light options including toast and croissants, and more substantial breakfasts like poached eggs with halloumi, or Belgian waffles. And if you’re a fan of puns, you’ll appreciate meals including the “Pepper Don’t Preach” grilled lemon-pepper chicken. While you’re there, check out rotating artists’ work on the “Wall of Frame”. Details: thegeneralfoodstore.com.au or (03) 5968 3580.
Nancy's of the Valley
Simple but tasty meals and daily-changing specials are on offer at Nancy’s of the Valley in Yarra Junction. The café has its own kitchen garden and diners can enjoy the spring sunshine in the alfresco area. Break your fast with Nancy’s Breakfast – two free-range eggs, with bacon, roasted tomato, spinach, mushrooms, house-made hash brown, free-range chicken sausage, and organic sourdough toast – or choose the vegetarian option with avocado and organic baked beans. There’s also lighter choices including bircher muesli, chilli scramble and smashed avocado. Details: https://www.facebook.com/NancysoftheValleyYarraJunction/ or (03) 5967 1593.
Coombe Yarra Valley
For people who like their breaky with a side of booze, Coombe Yarra Valley's morning tea on Saturdays and Sundays will give you a pep in your step. From 9.30am, the restaurant serves mini hot and cold breakfast items and pastries high tea-style with a glass of Coombe Farm Blanc de blancs and unlimited tea and espresso coffee. Cost is $38 per person, and bookings are essential. Details: (03) 9739 0173 or http://www.coombeyarravalley.com.au/