happy australia day to all my aussie readers! in true aussie form, the husband + i have spent a very patriotic weekend at the australian open tennis grand slam. without a doubt my favourite weekend of the melbourne summer! the murray vs. dimitrov game last night was an epic 4-set battle that didn’t end until well after midnight, so a sleep in + lazy morning was certainly needed today!
i’ve been following ‘hannah cafe’ in st kilda for quite some time, and regularly drool over their weekend french toast specials. so with a new summer menu and recent renovations to their interior over the christmas break, we took a leisurely drive (after 30+ km of walking already this weekend, my calves are killing me!) down to chapel st (st kilda end) to check them out.
random fact: i have a quirky infatuation with words. i’m a total scrabble and words with friends addict, i love doing crosswords on flights or waiting rooms, and my husband has this uncanny ability to read words backwards which i find hilarious. i also love palindromes! for those wondering… a palindrome is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards, e.g.madam, racecar or… hannah! i’ve also never met an unkind hannah (all my school friends named hannah were so lovely)… so this cafe already had major brownie points before we even got there!
my first impression upon walking in was the smell… and in a good way! you could literally taste the bacon sizzling away in the kitchen, instantly making my mouth water! the layout of the cafe itself is really spacious, with a beautiful wooden bench in the centre and lots of hanging ferns and greenery throughout – a really lovely atmosphere.
the coffee served is proud mary, a strong and robust flavour, locally roasted in melbourne. both my flat white and latte were very enjoyable and just what i needed after a late night.
coconut pancakes with pink peppered berries + vanilla mascarpone
my husband opted for this sweet treat (must’ve been all those meat pies + chips from the tennis, as he rarely goes for a sweet option for brunch) and loved it. the berry mixture had a beautiful combination which included pomegranates, cranberries + small pieces of apple marinated in the berry juices – really tasty! the pancakes themselves were light + fluffy, as was the mascarpone which had a definite vanilla bean taste which complimented the berries. this was a great dish!
brioche french toast with fresh figs + strawberries, cinnamon sauce + pistachios
this weekend special hit the mark in every way! firstly i love that as soon as i’d ordered, a bottle of (real!) maple syrup was placed on the table along with my cutlery. secondly, the presentation was stunning… the little cup of cinnamon cream in the middle was so cute, and the figs looked so beautiful on the plate! thirdly, the taste… this was not an overly sweet french toast like some, but the combination of the beautiful fresh brioche perfectly toasted + the fresh figs and strawberries was outstanding. the crunch of the pistachios was beautiful + the mint (a stroke of genius!) really lifted the dish. and then, for me, the thing to tie it all together: the cinnamon sauce! it was the consistency of a slightly thickened pouring cream, beautifully smooth and creamy, and the taste of the cinnamon was really evident. totally satisfying + enjoyable!
the service was really good. granted, the cafe wasn’t completely full – but the service was laid-back and friendly whilst still attentive (without being obtrusive). teem this with exceptional food and a beautiful atmosphere + our whole experience was hard to fault!
lastly, i have to comment on the music. the guys behind the bar have a beautiful turntable set-up, and an envious vinyl collection to go with it. my husband commented that it was one of the first thing he noticed: the quality of the music. both being musos, there is nothing worse than walking into a cafe where the speakers are crackling or tinny. and it is really nice to see some thought and appreciation go into the atmosphere that music creates in an environment. today’s playlist was fittingly “aussie” and we particularly enjoyed listening to “goanna” – thanks guys! 🙂
verdict: top spot! (see what i did there?)