You know those advertisements that sell flights or alcohol or perfume by painting a picture of the most perfectly exotic location where everything is just sexier, even sweat-soaked people? The kind that draw you right in because you know that things as dull as loan repayments and finding gym motivation just wouldn’t exist in a place so exciting and exotic. You find yourself wishing for a teleportation device.

That is what eating Lebanese food does for me. And that is why it is one of my favourite cuisines. The food is fresh and flavoursome and very vegan-friendly.

Collingwood’s Bayte provides the brunch-hunters of Melbourne with Middle Eastern tastes to kickstart the day’s eatin’— bringing something different to the city’s café scene.

And it seems chef, Julie Touma doesn’t mind whipping up something delicious for us cruelty-free crew either. While there was nothing vegan-ready on the menu, our friendly waitress returned from the kitchen with the news that the chef was happy to put something together for me.

Every mouthful of my breakfast was a wee trip to Lebanon and was followed with exclamations like,”oh my god, so smokey,” “oh my god, so tangy,” “pomegranate is definitely underrated,” and, “no you cannot have a second try of that one” (this was directed at Captain Someone).

The freshly baked flatbread was warm and soft and the babaganoush rich and smokey. These were paired with pumpkin kibbeh (a warm slice made with pumpkin, pine nuts, burghal, onion and spices) and nestled next to a zingy Mograbieh salad (the giant chewy Lebanese version of cous cous, with pomegranate, red onion, pine nuts, dill and roasted zucchini). I loved it. For a breakfast spot with a difference you have to check out Bayte.

Vegan options: While there are no vegan-ready dishes on the menu, Julie was only too happy to whip something up. I recommend asking for exactly what I had.
Coffee: A very good kiwi drop, Allpress
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: Very fair for this kind of fare, $18.50 for breaky and a coffee
Ear candy: I enjoyed the fact that they were playing the lovely Beirut in a Lebanese café

Where’s your favourite place to brunch in Collingwood?