Food Diaries: Higher Ground, Melbourne

Recently while I was scrolling through my camera roll, I noticed that I have so many photos of yummy things I’ve eaten at cafes and restaurants, so I thought it’d be a perfect mini-series to do on my blog (which I really neglected for the last half of 2017…ooops)

So to kick it off, I thought I’d reminisce on an amazing meal Moni and I had at Higher Ground in Melbourne, last year on a groovy little holiday we had. Moni and I still sometimes dream about this cafe experience, it really was amazing!

I’m pretty sure we found Higher Ground on Instagram, and I also read about it on Melbourne Girl’s Blog, but it pops up on TripAdvisor’s top 10 Melbourne Restaurants too. 

They’re part of the Top Paddock and Kettle Black crew, which are other awesome Melbourne restaurants.

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Higher Ground is tucked away into the corner of Little Bourke and Spencer Street.
When we arrived it was a crisp Melbourne morning; all the high-rises around make it pretty shady and windy, but the outside area had plenty of heaters cranking to keep it warm. As it’s such a popular restaurant, you have to put your name down first and wait which in my opinion is cool; its exclusive in a sense, and good enough that people don’t mind waiting in the cold for a table.

That being said, it didn’t take long for us to get let inside as it was just the two of us, and the interior is so amazing. Its rustic and industrial, with 15-metre high ceilings, a mezzanine, lots of greenery and clever use of light. There’s seating on all different levels of the space, including loungey corners, bar stools, and communal tables.

As written on a Herald Sun review; ‘You just can’t help but goggle at the heritage-listed 19th-century power station this cafe newcomer cleverly occupies, with its sky-high rafters and imposing arch windows’.
We ordered off their day menu, which is available until 3pm with options ranging from $6.50-$28AUD. Each item is refreshing, new, unique and intriguing, making choosing a meal to order a wee bit of a challenge…

We went with:

  • Minced lamb fry up, miso eggplant, fried eggs, barberry, smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah & sourdough ($21)
  • Whole poached mandarin, vanilla cheesecake, chocolate brownie, coco nibs ($15)
Minced Lamb Fry Up & Whole Poached Mandarin Dessert
Photos from @higherground on Instagram

The lamb fry up was so delicious, and so well seasoned. Moni and I decided it had a Mediterranean flavour (we could be completely wrong haha) with the smoked yoghurt, pomegranate and dukkah taking it to the next level. There’s not many places in New Zealand where you can get such an exotic breakfast for around $20 – I mean who smokes yoghurt here?! The meal was incredible, and everything else written on the menu sounded like a Masterchef dish – with so many elements and attention to detail.

Lamb Fry Up with miso eggplant, smoked yogurt and pine nut dukkah
We also had the Poached Mandarin Dessert which was phenomenal. I still cant believe how such a technical and delicious dessert is only $15.

Poached Mandarin with Vanilla Cheescake, Chocolate Brownie & cocao nibs
Whole mandarins are boiled over three days until they form a gel-like tangy-sweet casing, which is then filled with vanilla cheescake on a chocolate brownie base, and topped with cocao nibs. It looks absolutely incredible and tastes just as good too.

Inside of the Mandarin Dessert
We also got a couple of coffees too which were delicious. The coffee is from Square One, which is roasted in Cremorne, Melbourne.

The whole vibe of Higher Ground is so groovy, it’s kind of got a romantic feel to it, and while you’re eating your meals time goes so slow and you feel truly in the moment, but as soon as you’re done you’re done, and someone else wants your table. It’s a fast paced place, with friendly, attentive staff zooming around everywhere, and once you’re there you know why its one of the hottest cafes in the Melbourne CBD.

We thought the meal sizes were good, however we don’t have overly large appetites! The prices in our opinion were good too – compared to many New Zealand cafes – and each dish is made with premium products and attention to detail.

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Higher Ground Interior via @melbournegirl on Instagram 

All in all, Higher Ground is a truly amazing Melbourne Cafe experience; trendy, slick, with good coffee and incredible, inspiring meals.




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