Higher Ground | Melbourne Cafe with a purpose


Higher Ground gives you architecture, food and drink excellence, and purpose; a trinity, manifesting an experience that breaks boundaries.

What is it?

The name “Higher Ground” is a true testament of Nathan Toleman’s, hospitality and cafe genius, newest Melbourne venture. This establishment serves ace breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you will always have a chance to dine and savour a “Higher Ground” experience. On their Day menu, you will find the most considered culinary creations like steamed barramundi with kohlrabi noodles, charred leek, bonito sesame, and mushroom as well as small plate options like charred brussel sprouts with toasted seaweed and confit lamb rib with salsa verde.

Good food is a given, but what is more mesmerising is the design. Created by a local company, Designstudio, Higher Ground’s atmosphere radiates modernity, intention, and solitude. With multiple levels and apertures, everyone is bound to find a place to decompress and relish in their dining experience.

Nathan Toleman says it is the history of the building that makes Higher Ground so unique. The site is beautiful with its exposed break, 15 meter high ceilings, vegetation, and large arched windows. Before Nathan and his team remodeled the space, it functioned as one of Melbourne’s first power stations. The space was originally constructed in the 1890s and closed almost a century later. “It had been sitting empty and derelict for more than 30 years,” says Nathan, “before we brought it back to life.”

What makes it unique?

Higher Ground is a cafe with a purpose. According to Nathan, the priority is sustainable waste management. With one of the largest worm farms in Melbourne, Higher Ground processes all of their green waste and organic matter onsite via 20 Hungry bin worm farms, home to over 250,000 worms! “This green waste would normally go to landfill, creating methane, and harmful greenhouse gases,” says Nathan, yet Higher Ground’s system “processes 8-10 tonnes of food waste annually, saving almost 20 tonnes of CO2 emissions.” Worm farms also have the lowest environmental footprint compared to those of any other waste management technology. The team behind Higher Ground are true thought leaders should be role models for all making the switch to a sustainable, energy-conscious business model.  

How do I get it in my life?

Higher Ground is located at 650 Little Bourke Street, minutes away from Melbourne’s lively Docklands.

What’s the #insidertip?

From the man himself, Nathan says you must try the cauliflower scramble on the house-made flat bread. This dish is a bit spicy, the perfect thing to kickstart your day. If you are looking for something a bit sweeter, Nathan says you can’t go wrong with the ricotta hotcakes with maple syrup, seeds and grains, cream, and flowers. Both of these items are found on their day menu which is available until 3pm.

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