There’s a lot of talk about using local and sustainable produce in the hospitality world. But Hawthorn Common goes further with a “closed loop” philosophy. There’s a rooftop herb garden, in-house coffee roaster and even a flour mill for stone milling grain every day to bake the cafe’s own bread. But this isn’t some rustic operation run on the whiff of a mung bean rag. It’s a huge space with plenty of room for outdoor dining on the balcony. The interior is all pale blonde wood with a dash of personality injected through huge black and white photos of staff and customers lining the walls.
The cafe is owned by hospitality heavyweights Danny Colls (Café Racer and Silo by Joost) and George Sykotis (The Press Club, Jimmy Grants and Gazi) and ex-Vue de Monde chef Stefano Rosi is manning the stoves so the food is not an afterthought here.
If I was a really dedicated food blogger I would have ordered one of the more whacky sounding dishes like the soup fruit salad ($10) or the black pudding paté ($18). But instead I played it safe with the mushrooms ($16). They are served on a smoky char grilled slab of Hawthorn Common’s home made bread and are given punch with some crumbled beetroot and creamy cottage cheese.
Even better are the lightly fried ricotta fritters ($16). A trio of the fritters are enlivened with pops of sweetness from a swipe of pumpkin chutney and scattering of currants. Sustainable? Probably. On trend? Certainly. Delicious? Definitely. Hawthorn Common is a cafe where the food actually delivers on all the talk.
Details: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Road, Hawthorn (Ph 03 9819 2200)
Damage: Reasonable. But the girls shouted me brunch as a belated birthday present (thanks Jo, Clare and Jo!).
Kids: Welcome. There are lots of high chairs and staff were accommodating of the three little people we had with us.