Located on the corner of Little Bourke Street & Spencer Street (right opposite Southern Cross Station) lies Higher Ground, a former power-station-turned-cafe originally opened by Mulberry Group – the original founders of Kettle Black & Top Paddock (best hotcakes ever). Higher Ground, alongside Kettle Black & Top Paddock are now owned by Darling Group.
Scroll down for the rest of the article or check out my vlog on Higher Ground here, or click here for other suggestions of things to do while in Melbourne!
Maintaining the industrial vibes of original architecture of the space, Higher Grounds has a ‘meatpacking district – NYC’ vibe to it, with its high ceilings and cool, subtle understated atmosphere, it definitely holds a more “mellow” vibe compared to the more airy/cafe vibes that Top Paddock has.
The space almost feels more like what a restaurant/cafe meets co-working space/hub would look like (if there were ever any such a type to exist).
Below is the menu (at the time of writing this article). The menu feels more similar to Industry Beans in that you don’t have too many “breakfast options” (like your standard hollandaise, smashed avo varieties. Instead Higher Ground’s menu consists of more granola, porridge offerings… then jumping straight into more “lunch” or “mains” kind of dishes.
First up we got the Minced Lamb Fry Up: consisting of miso eggplant, fried eggs, barberries, smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah and sourdough (AUD$22). We were seriously tossing up between this dish and the Confit Lamb Sausage Roll.
I have to say that I felt this was a bit on the underwhelming side. The lamb mince itself was a bit dry and lacking in texture, the miso eggplant was good (but it’s hard to go wrong with a miso x eggplant combination), but overall I just felt the dish failed to really bring out the lamb flavours or find a way to combine the flavours of the entire dish overall.
Next up we tried the 12 hour blade steak, parsnip puree, dashi, pickled carrot with young purple radish. This dish cost (AUD$22.00). We also added the charred greens (AUD$5.50) for this too.
I loveeeeeed this dish. The steak was so perfect in terms of texture, it was perfectly melt-in-your-mouth softness but also had an element of chewy-ness that gave a bit of texture to the dish. The mash was really perfect, soft and buttery – really well done.
Finally, we wrapped up our brunch with the ricotta hotcakes. The ricotta hotcake came with maple syrup, seeds & grains, cream, seasonal berries and flowers (and cost AUD$22.00). Now if you’ve been to other brunch places like Top Paddock before, you’ll have tried this dish. The first time I ever had their hotcakes was at Top Paddock and asides from presentation, the flavours are really great. The dish itself is a bit on the heavy side (as you can see it’s quite big), but the pancakes are nice and fluffy and not too dense.
Overall, what I loved most about Higher Ground is the interior design of the space, I love the cool rustic vibes the place with and the high ceilings are definitely something you don’t see in most eateries around Melbourne. The place serves great food. The place does have extremely long queues most of the time, so you will either need to go relatively early (before your tummies get hungry) or be prepared to wait.
650 Little Bourke Street (corner of Spencer Street – right opposite Southern Cross Station)