Charming little Balaclava is the low-key neighbour to nearby St Kilda, seemingly custom created for hipsters who brunch and buy vintage. It’s also one of the bedrocks of Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community, which lends this compact suburb a rich cultural life complete with synagogues and authentic bakeries that are worth braving the winding queues.
It’s a grand claim to make in this café-obsessed city, but Balaclava just might be home to some of Melbourne’s most in-demand brunch hot spots. Here, snap-happy foodies journey from across town to join the early morning queues for the best breakfast burritos and smashed avo this side of the Yarra.
But there’s more to this delightful little neighbourhood than photogenic eggs (with all of the trimming, nonetheless).
Indeed, Balaclava is home to a large portion of Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community. Meaning that you’re just a likely to hear lively snatches of Yiddish as you stroll down the street as you are English. This multicultural community has left its mark on the area’s dining scene, complete with kosher restaurants and dedicated bakeries as well as some of the best rye bread in town. Balaclava’s iconic eateries turn out gleaming challah and intricate pastries.
Buzzing Carlisle Street is the neighbourhood’s lifeblood. Not only will you find more cafés per square metre than imaginable, but also charming vintage boutiques and chic homewares stores. And while things might get a little quiet once the sun goes down (although Balaclava’s growing roster of hip restaurants and bars are setting a change in motion), the bright lights of St Kilda are just around the corner.