Daylesford is not a destination that’s short on cafes – here are some of the region’s best.
This pretty pocket of Victorian countryside is known for its indulgent experiences, especially its vibrant food and wine scene. If you’re not quite sure where to start then read on for the best brunch, brekkie and coffee options in Daylesford.
A Daylesford icon, rustic-chic Cliffy’s is a cafe, produce and wine store all rolled into one. You can dine on the long communal table outside under the frontage, but it’s inside that you’ll get a true sense of the fibre of Cliffy’s – a space that is positively brimming with character and ambience, thanks to its six decades-long lifespan.
The breakfast menu is an eclectic one that runs the gamut from laksa eggs (scrambled coconut eggs with coconut sambal, goats cheese, fried shallots and roti) to French toast (pan-fried brioche with passionfruit, a citrus salad, almonds, lemon verbena and vanilla ice cream) and plenty in between.
Lunch, meanwhile, is a more continental affair, featuring dishes such as a porchetta roll with pistachio pesto, a savoury tart tatin and a ploughman’s board.
Address: 30 Raglan St, Daylesford, Vic, 3460
Phone number: +61 3 5348 3279
Wombat Hill House
Brought to you by the masterminds behind Lake House (husband and wife team Allan and Alla Wolf-Tasker) this cafe in the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens is a great all-rounder, whatever the season or reason for your visit.
Come summer, enjoy the fresh country air and positively verdant kitchen garden from under one of the terrace’s parasols. During spring or autumn perch for a while in the bright and airy confines of the conservatory. And in winter, pull up a pew inside the main building by the fire, once a caretaker’s cottage. You can also, of course, pick up provisions for the road, or create your own picnic to devour in the Botanic Gardens themselves.
Wombat Hill House prides itself on its baked goods, delivered directly each morning from sister venue Dairy Flat Farm. They’re made with biodynamic or organic flours from small-scale growers and millers – think slow-fermented sourdough loaves, and all manner or moreish viennoiserie. There’s also ST.ALi coffee and a seasonal cafe menu, plus high tea on offer to boot.
Address: Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Daylesford, Vic, 3460
Phone number: +61 3 7017 5999
From its glorious stripped back interiors (hello swathes of exposed brick, wrought iron spiral staircase, and ivory walls) to its cute, dog-friendly courtyard and super concise menu that’s masterfully executed, Pancho is a firm favourite among locals.
The cafe’s coffee beans come courtesy of Melbourne’s Wide Open Road, the milk from Western Victoria, and there’s a rather tempting selection of cocktails, beers, cider and wine to boot. There’s little about the joint that’s cookie cutter; after all, owners, and hospo veterans Tom and Lauren even whip up their own yoghurt, ferment their own pickles, create all the sauces, and bake all their cakes in-house.
Roll up for an early breakfast of apple and buckwheat fritters and an iced long black, or mosey down for lunch and devour a hot roast beef roll with a rhubarb gin fizz on the side.
Address: 117 Vincent Street, Daylesford, Vic, 3460
Phone number: +61 3 5373 4230
A tried and true local hangout, Larder Cafe does a roaring trade in specialty coffee and hearty brunch, lunch and breakfast classics. The sizable menu includes baked eggs, a big breakfast, eggs Benny and more, but you’ll find a fair few innovative dishes added into the mix on the specials board – think yoghurt panna cotta with rhubarb, and panko-crusted eggs with an Asian fennel salad. Those who love a more bespoke DIY option will be thrilled, as Larder’s list of optional sides is wildly long.
Address: 57a Vincent Street, Daylesford, Vic, 3460
Phone number: +61 3 5348 4700
If eating ‘clean’ is at the top of your agenda, then make for Harvest. Specialising in seasonal, organic and locally sourced wholefoods, this Daylesford cafe has plenty of options for vegans, vegetarians and those who are gluten-free too. Grab a table inside, where produce and pantry staples line the walls, and order a freshly blended smoothie or juice as you peruse the menu.
The breakfast line-up is relatively straightforward, counting eggs on toast, an acai bowl, and granola among its options, while the lunch menu is a touch more diverse, featuring spicy lentil patties, salads, frittatas, savoury tarts and muffins, as well as wraps, rolls and pies.
Address: 9 Albert St, Daylesford, Vic, 3460
Phone number: +61 3 5348 1502