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Brunch with Soul at the Smith
Photograph: Supplied

The best bottomless brunches in Melbourne

We road-tested the best boozy brunch spots Melbourne has to offer

By Cassidy Knowlton, Rebecca Russo and Nicola Dowse
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Breakfast means business here in Melbourne, and adding a drink to the mix is a sure-fire way to make the most of your weekend hours. Make those drinks free flowing and you’ve got a party on your hands. But not all bottomless brunches are made equal, so we put our stomachs and livers on the line to road test Melbourne’s best.

Just want the food? Here are Melbourne's top cafés for your morning pit stop. Just want the booze? Try these 50 ace bars.

Recommended: The best sandwiches in Melbourne.

The best spots for a boozy Melbourne brunch

Bodega Underground
Photograph: JL Carvalho

1. Bodega Underground’s Mexican bottomless brunch

Restaurants Mexican Melbourne

What is it? A five-course Mexican brunch with bottomless cocktails.
When is it? Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm for 90 minutes at a time.
How much? $69 per person.
What’s on the menu? It’s five nicely sized courses so buckle up. You’ll be served corn on a stick that’s been spiced with chipotle mayo and queso cotija (basically cheesy spicy corn – it’s great), chicken chilaquiles, Mexican-style fried chicken, churros with dulce de leche and tacos de birria. The taco head tilt is advised as these bad boys are messy. The food is spread out, but there’s enough of it that you won’t leave hungry. To drink, you can get Mexican cocktails like Batangas, Palomas, Mexican-inspired Mimosas and Micheladas served in giant German-style pint glasses.

Value rating? The fact that it’s cocktails, rather than just wine, is a nice addition. Yeah, they’re not super strong, but it’s still a great deal – 90-minutes of free-flowing cocktails, and they’re served quickly so you’ll get your money’s worth.

Pro tip: Book in advance as there’s limited space for walk-ins. Plus, if your group has dietary requirements, go here. The entire kitchen is gluten and nut free and there’s also an excellent vegan alternative to all the main dishes.

Bingo Academy at Tokyo Tina
Photograph: Supplied

2. Tokyo Tina Bingo Academy

Restaurants Windsor

What is it: A boozy, Japanese-style brunch with a few hilarious games of bingo thrown in.
When is it: Every Saturday. 12pm or 2:15pm with two hour sittings each.
How much is it: $69 for bottomless booze and food or $49 for food only.
What’s on the menu: To drink, you get two hours of unlimited Aperol Spritzes, Prosecco or Stomping Ground Pale Ale. But it’s really the food (and the entertainment) that makes this brunch stand out among Melbourne’s overstuffed bottomless brunch scene. Guests can pick six items from Tokyo Tina’s brunch menu, which include dishes like salmon tartare, white cut chicken udon, pork belly or mapo tofu bao, steamed snapper, charred cauliflower and a weekly brunch special. Edamame and kimchi fried rice is on the house, too.
Value rating? The food isn’t bottomless, but you won’t leave hungry – we promise you that. Each dish is scaled to the number of guests at your table, so there’s plenty to go around. If you’re hungry and you’re ready to make a day of it, this is definitely worth the price tag.
Pro tip: Bring your sense of humour. Bingo is hosted by local comedians (we got the hilariously crass comedy duo Dazza and Keif, but the Granny Bingo trio have hosted in the past). Plus there’s terrible prizes to be won (who wouldn’t want a second-hand Frasier box set?).

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Table with plates of food and cocktails
Photograph: Graham Denholm

3. Bang Bang Bottomless Brunch

Restaurants Fusion Elsternwick

What is it? A hawker-style set menu of seven small dishes, plus bottomless cocktails or prosecco
When is it? Saturdays and Sundays, noon-2pm and 2.30-4.30pm.
How much? $59.
What's on the menu? The Asian-inspired menu comprises seven dishes, but the first three  are no more than a mouthful. You’ll get an oyster with red chilli and lime granita, a betel leaf filled with cashew, coriander, lemongrass and toasted coconut, and satay chicken skewers, which come with a slightly oily peanut sauce. The salt-and-pepper squid is a highlight; and you can make-your-own bao with beef shin. Be warned: there’s more meat than bao so ask for a second serve of savoury buns – worth it for the extra $5. Rounding out the menu are smallish san choy bow filled with smoked trout, and a basket of shoestring fries with Kewpie mayonnaise. On the drinks side, you can choose from prosecco, Aperol Spritzes, grapefruit or orange Mimosas and Bloody Marys. You can switch between them, but Bang Bang has a strict one-in-one-out policy, so no hoarding drinks. Food service is pretty quick, but we had to ask several times for drink refills.
Value rating? You won’t leave stuffed, but you’ll probably be comfortably full when you finish. Drinks are what makes this good value, with wait staff carrying around jugs of Mimosas for top-ups.
Pro tip: If it’s a nice day, eating on the covered deck is a joy, with lovely views over the adjourning gardens.

A buffet table with cheese, fruits and nuts
Photograph: Supplied

4. Left Bank

Restaurants Southbank

What is it: A refreshingly long brunch with water views
When is it: Fortnightly on Sundays from 11:30-1:30pm or 2-4pm.
How much is it: $80-$90.
What’s on the menu: The menu has since changed since we dined from vegetarian to omnivorous: chipotle-roasted cauliflower loaded with basil hummus; and roast pork belly with a mustardy potato mash and caramelised apples join cheddar cornbread waffles with smoked bacon and jalapeño maple butter. It’s the buffet stations that elevate this brunch. Left Bank lets brunch patrons load up a plate with oysters, prawns, cured meats, artisan cheeses, roasts meats, salads and tiny cakes and macarons.

Value rating? When Left Bank say “bottomless brunch” they really mean bottomless. As well as getting unlimited French sparkling, this brunch experience includes an à la carte dish and as much as you can stomach from their buffet stations. Given the Costco-like quantities and four-hour run time, the steep price tag ends up quite reasonable.
Pro tip: This is a marathon not a sprint. You’ve lots of time to enjoy the buffet and bottomless drinks so don’t risk indigestion with over zealous guzzling.

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Brunch with Soul at the Smith
Photograph: Supplied

5. The Smith’s Brunch with Soul

Restaurants Prahran

What is it: Breakfast and a show. Brunch plus five types of Spritzes while a gospel choir roams throughout.
When is it: Every Saturday at 11am and 2pm.
How much is it: $60.
What’s on the menu: You choose one item from the AM menu for your brunch, so you need to decide if you’re in a French toast mood or keen for a croissant. The Smith’s bacon and egg roll puts others to shame. It’s a two-hands-required burger with a hockey puck-sized salt and vinegar hashbrown. ‘Cured tomatoes, smoked salmon, avocado, nori dressing, crème fraîche and charred pita’ comes served like a pizza and with a delightfully chewy base. But for best cost per Instagram like order the Aperol French toast.
Value rating? The Smith’s waiters get that you want to make the most of your two hours, with empty glasses not staying empty for long. It’s pretty easy to sink five or six Spritzes across brunch, which easily justifies the $60 price tag once you include your meal.
Pro tip: Most of the cocktails list towards sweet. If that’s not your thing order the Mr Bianco Spritz (Martini Bianco vermouth, thyme, rosemary, lime, prosecco and soda) or stick to Hawthorn pilsners or house wine.

Avocado on toast with radish and lemon
Photograph: supplied

6. Sunday Bottomless Brunch St Luja

Bars Cocktail bars St Kilda

What is it: A booze-heavy bottomless brunch perfect for a Sunday session.
When is it: Every Saturday from 12pm to 2pm.
How much is it: $55 per person.
What’s on the menu: You get one brunch item from St Luja’s menu and three hours of unlimited prosecco, Mimosas, Bellinis and Espresso Martinis for the price tag. Menu items include classic avo smash, strawberry pancakes, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel and a brekky bap with lots of fatty bacon.
Value rating? Fair warning: the portion sizes aren’t big. They’re actually rather small so you’re encouraged to purchase more food in order to make it through your three-hour drinks sitting. The drinks are also rather strong, so you will get your money’s worth even if you only get through a couple over the course of an afternoon.
Pro tip: Eat something before and after you visit. You’ll be thankful in the long run, we promise. 

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Paccheri at Osteria Ilaria
Paccheri at Osteria Ilaria
Photograph: Graham Denholm

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