The uncommon Hawthorn Common

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.  

 Hawthorn

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.  

Inside Hawthorn Common

Inside Hawthorn Common

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.

Mushrooms at Hawthorn Common

Mushrooms at Hawthorn Common

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.   

Ricotta fritters at Hawthorn Common

Ricotta fritters at Hawthorn Common

Essentials
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.  
7/10
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Posted by: on July 25th, 2014     No Comments »

Category: Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe Tags: , , , ,
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Italian dreaming at Centovene

I’ve been suffering severe Italy withdrawal since my return to Melbourne.   Luckily for my birthday my mother in law gave me a voucher to Centovene restaurant in Kew (thanks Carmel!).  It was one of those really Wintery evenings when I went there with MTV, the sort when you really just want to hibernate at home, but the welcome was warm and Italian at Centovene.  

Centovene

Centovene

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Posted by: on July 22nd, 2014     2 Comments »

Category: Dinner, Italian Tags: , , ,
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Where to eat in Puglia: Gourmet Chick in Italy

If Italy is a boot then Puglia is the heel right at the bottom.  It’s hot with an arid and flat landscape.  We hired a masseria (walled house) for a week with friends in the Salento region in the middle of an olive grove.  All around us there was sun, sea and seriously good food .  And the occasional little stone building which looks like a smurf house but which is known as a trulli.  It’s a region which seems still quite undiscovered.  There were no tour buses and most of the other tourists we ran into were Italian.  

Puglian

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Posted by: on July 17th, 2014     4 Comments »

Category: Travel - Italy Tags:
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How to make Bourke Street Bakery’s pork and fennel sausage rolls

I hosted a very crazy party at my place on Saturday.  The guests spilled drinks everywhere, spread food all over the floor and one of them vomited a few times.  Yes it was wild times at the joint first birthday party for our mothers group.  Those one year olds really know how to trash a house!

Pork & fennel

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Posted by: on July 14th, 2014     5 Comments »

Category: Recipe - Finger Food, Recipe - Lunch Tags: ,
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London revisited: my four must eats

It’s a strange feeling going back to a city which used to be your home.  So much had changed in London in the three years since I lived there but at the same time it felt as if everything was the same and I had never left.  I tried to resist the temptation to eat at the newest restaurants which had just opened their doors and instead went back to some old favourites.  Alright I may have thrown in one hot new opening…

English asparagus at St John Bread & Wine

English asparagus at St John Bread & Wine

1.  Ottolenghi
I used to live right around the corner from Yotam Ottolenghi’s original Notting Hill cafe and I have suffered serious withdrawals now I am half a world away.  On my first night in London I popped in with my friend Claire to pick up some salads for dinner and get a quick coffee.  There was the usual fabulous display of visually stunning and equally tasty combinations like roasted eggplant with pomegranate and yoghurt dressing.  Of course we couldn’t resist a perfectly petite  blueberry cake with the coffee as well.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: on July 10th, 2014     4 Comments »

Category: Travel - England Tags: ,
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