From fine food emporiums to scenic lakeside haunts and cosy Greek-inspired venues, these are Bendigo’s best cafes.
Bendigo might be better known for its gold rush history and historical buildings, but this city (pop. 100,991) in Central Victoria has more to offer beyond its boomtown legacy.
Christened a UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy in 2019 – an Australian first – Bendigo has a burgeoning food and drink scene that capitalises on the fresh produce that abounds in the Goldfields region. And that applies before midday too.
Read on for details of Bendigo’s best cafes, which promise to entertain the palettes of even the most discerning brunch-goers.
A cafe modelled on the Danish concept of hygge (a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that goes hand in hand with contentment) Hoo-gah is all about embracing life’s simple pleasures in inviting surroundings.
Run by husband-and-wife team Gina Triolo and Danny D’Alessandri, this Bendigo cafe is committed to culinary inclusivity, offering punters a range of vegan, gluten-free and FODMAP-friendly options.
You’ll also find coffee from small-batch Victorian roaster Motobean and all your favourite brunch classics.
A colourful brunch meal filled with savory flavours at Hoo-gah.
2. Edwards Providore
Coffee from Allpress? Check. House-made cold-pressed juices? Check. A menu that spans all the time-honoured brunch dishes? Check.
Edwards Providore not only houses a cafe that ticks all the boxes, but it’s also a great spot to stock up on fresh produce, peruse some very aesthetically pleasing homewares, and source some deli snacks for the road.
This fine food emporium is located on the outskirts of the city, in Kennington.
Order crispy fried pork belly, miso pumpkin, pepitas and red rice for brunch.
3. Percy and Percy
Housed within a corner block just outside of the CBD that boasts a gorgeous little paved courtyard, bar-style seating out front, plus a smattering of tables inside, Percy and Percy is an all-weather kind of venue with a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for an easy Sunday morning.
Owners Elisha and Dan are strong proponents of shopping local and only sourcing the finest ingredients.
Percy and Percy’s baristas work with milk from independent western-Victoria dairy Inglenook, while the cafe’s chefs tend to select produce purchased from local grocers, Tilly’s Bluebird, and meat from the award-winning local butcher, Flora Hill Quality Meats.
Come and try their special crab Benedict burger.
It’s no slapdash half-hearted affair at Bayleaf. Instead, the chefs (and waitstaff) at this Bendigo cafe luxuriate in the details: think artfully plated fare, the friendliest staff, and snappy service.
The menu has a distinct Hellenic slant, featuring dishes such as spetsofai (Greek pork sausage with red pepper, cannellini beans tomato ragu, poached egg, feta and sourdough), strapatsada (folded eggs with feta, tomato, red onion, spinach and graviera cheese, on sourdough), and kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters, haloumi, green chilli yoghurt, poached egg and green salad), and the coffee is Allpress.
Avocado toast with boiled egg on top.
5. Bendigo Corner Store Cafe
For an order of satisfying, wholesome fare, make a beeline for this reliable Bendigo cafe in the ‘burbs, but not far from the reach of the CBD.
While the eggs Benny is something of a house signature (think Otway ham hock bathed in apple cider Hollandaise), Bendigo Corner Store regularly runs seasonal specials for brekkie, brunch and lunch that might sway you off menu.
Past specials have included soft polenta with wilted spinach, grilled asparagus, smoked salmon and whipped creme fraiche; mango, lychee and coconut smoothie bowls with goji berry, cranberry and oat granola; and deep-fried zucchini flowers, plump with chickpea and beetroot, served on a bed of pilaf-style mixed grains.
Brighten up your day with a fruity smoothie bowl.
6. The Boardwalk Bendigo
Few Bendigo cafes boast a setting as plum as The Boardwalk, sitting pretty on the banks of Lake Weeroona.
And while this lakeside locale takes its food seriously, there’s a playful irreverence to almost everything else about this brunch haunt.
Quirky names for dishes, colourfully concocted plates, bubbly staff, bikes hanging from the ceiling, and a ‘K9 Katering’ menu especially for your favourite four-legged friend all help set this café apart.
The menu for humans spans everything from house-made chocolate chip waffles with cardamom-poached pears, to scrambled eggs laced with sambal, beetroot relish and blistered cherry tomatoes.
Go for a completely vegan meal at The Boardwalk Bendigo.
7. Harvest Food & Wine
Continental breakfasts reign supreme at this Bendigo cafe. Situated within Bendigo’s arts precinct, Harvest wears many hats – operating as a restaurant, deli, and wine cellar too.
Waltz in off the street and you’ll be greeted by a gleaming glass cabinet full of rather lovely cheeses, smallgoods and bronzed pastries, as well as a wall of wine.
Harvest is known for many things, but it’s arguably the store’s buttery, flaky croissants that steal the show. They come in several guises, from French-inspired (ham with Comté cheese, soft-boiled egg and tomato relish) to Italian-ish (san daniele prosciutto and Comté cheese) and classic failsafe (slathered in jam).
Harvest Rotisserie Duck for your weekend brunch.
Heading to Bendigo soon? Find out where to eat, drink and stay in our ultimate travel guide to Bendigo.