How to find inspiration at a breakfast buffet

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My favourite meal of the day is breakfast. I don’t know why, it just has always been the one time of day I enjoy the most. I think it’s got something to do with eggs and bagels – you can’t beat a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and a mug of hot tea or a poached egg with smoked salmon and hollandaise!

That said, I’m always on the lookout for great places to have breakfast out on the weekends and to find some inspiration for my own meals. During the week I usually stick with muesli and porridge but I tend to splash out on the weekends. I love having pancakes, corn fritters, omelettes, poached eggs, bagels or anything else that takes my fancy. Or is fancy, for that matter.

Tables along the windows overlooking the Yarra River at the Conservatory


A place to find great surroundings

On the weekends breakfast should never be rushed. Its best to take your time and enjoy your surroundings, or enjoy a larger meal with friends and family. Breakfast, or brunch, is the perfect meal to share with others and with so many different items on the menu its an easy choice.

The Conservatory at the Crown Casino is my favourite place to have an amazing breakfast in beautiful surroundings. The high ceilings, the fancy decorations and an amazing view of the Yarra River in Melbourne makes breakfast feel special. I feel relaxed, excited and ready to feast on my favourite foods.

It’s not only got a great breakfast, it’s got a breakfast buffet – which is my favourite kind of breakfast. The food combined with the beautiful setting makes the trip (and the price) worthwhile and it also provides a fair bit of inspiration in terms of presentation, flavour and food combinations, and taste.

The decor of the Conservatory

A great place to find food inspiration

Presentation Inspiration:

I look at the way the plates of food are set out, the way the food looks on the plate and the types of serving dishes used. I draw ideas from each and replicate them later at home when I can. For instance, the way the croissants are set out makes me excited to try each one. The layout of the jams next to the croissants makes me want to find the perfect accompaniment to each croissant. But do I want a sweet croissant or a savoury one today?

The jams, yoghurts and bircher muesli selections.


Croissants at the Conservatory – three different types.

The way the food is set out at the Conservatory makes everything look so appetizing. A large part of wanting to eat a meal is its appearance and when food is presented in a way that makes you want to pick it up and admire it, well you don’t admire it for long. It’s gone way too fast!


The cold savoury selections and the freshly squeezed juices.

Food and flavour inspiration:

I also draw inspiration from the breakfast choices at the Conservatory. I can get bored of my regular breakfast choices so I look at the way they make the pancakes; the thickness or texture or taste of the pancakes, or the way that they serve the pancakes right next to the chocolate fountain, suggesting I should eat them with spoonfuls of melted chocolate and chocolate dipped strawberries.

I look at the beautiful almond croissants and I get excited. The Conservatory has the best almond croissants I’ve ever tasted, so I take one first and leave it to the side while I enjoy poached eggs or porridge or a cute little mango smoothie in a tiny jar. But I don’t forget it – I study it later and remember what it looked and tasted like so I can make one at home another day.

Tiny mango smoothies!


I check out the Bircher muesli in its tiny portion and try to decide whether I make mine in the same way. Or should I add blueberries and grated apple like they did?

Taste inspiration: I always check out the eggs and other hot foods too. I’m not a fan of sloppy scrambled eggs a la hotel and restaurant style (I want them fully cooked) so I try other foods – like the omelettes they create to order or the way the spinach and the tomatoes have been cooked and given flavour. And I’ll try the hash browns to see whether they’re handmade, light or heavy and greasy.

Porridge and some of the other hot foods, with the chef at the pancake selection.

In terms of taste inspiration, I always try a bit of everything. I want to taste it all so that I can gather ideas for future meals, and really, so I can just enjoy the entire experience. And I always enjoy my breakfast buffet experiences at The Conservatory.

The Conservatory is open for its breakfast buffet from 6:30am Monday to Friday, and from 7am on weekends, but be quick as they stop the buffet at 10:30am (and they will ask you to leave before the lunch setting arrives). The full buffet will cost $39.50 per person.

Question: What inspiration have you gathered from a breakfast buffet?

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