Although I’m not about chasing hype, it’s always nice to unexpectedly get onto something good, before the rest of Melbourne discovers it two days later (and not have to wait for a table). I was simply looking for a cafe option in Hawthorn, as Brad and I needed to make sure we were properly fuelled up before heading into the races…and fortunately discovered Bawa Cafe!
The name is taken from Geoffrey Bawa, who was a Sri Lankan architect, one of the most influential Asian architects of his generation, who popularised ‘tropical modernism’, a style that integrates buildings and landscape together.
And my goodness, the guys behind Bawa (the resume includes Dukes, Barry, Square and Compass, Three Bags Full) have definitely taken this style to heart. Airy and lofty, and just so refreshing to walk into, where soft moss leather furnishings blend into plants dripping from the ceilings and hanging out over the window. It’s a gorgeous space.
Make sure to get a table on the elevated space up next to the window, and then don’t be too surprised when the guys open it up. The big windows slide apart so that you can take in the sights, enjoy the sun and breeze. With all the plants around the windows, you might almost feel you’re not quite in Hawthorn after all…
Chai Boy chai’s are velvety smooth and comforting, could have been a little stronger though. For coffee drinkers, the beans are Dukes, and Brad enjoys his latte.
The food menu reads an absolute treat; it’s so hard to settle for just one dish, definitely a place to bring a group along so you can try as much as you can! I also love the vegetarian slant on the majority of the menu, with the option to make it a little meatier if you would like.
My cauliflower hash with peaks of ricotta (which I just have to giggle over because they just look so comedic), with beetroot relish and pickled tomatoes, is just divine, and much more filling that it looks! The cauliflower hash itself is simply moreish, with a nice charred savouriness, to balance out against the sweetness of the beetroot and tomatoes, which also provide a little zing and zest. I love seeing all the colourful tomatoes, after a smorgasbord of tomato salads and what not over the years, I feel like they’ve been dropping off a bit, and it’s great to see them again. Perfect for the season.
Brad gets the chilli scrambled eggs, with pickled mushrooms, kaiserfleish and generously grated reggiano on top of toast. What a visual spectacle, one of the best looking scrambled eggs I ever saw! Although they didn’t really have as much of a kick as suggested, the eggs were beautifully folded, and I loved the cheesiness, with the tartness of the pickled mushrooms coming through. Brad wasn’t totally convinced on the mushrooms, but I quite liked them.
So get in quick. These guys have only been open for a little over a week, and although we waltzed in and got a table straight away…it’s not going to stay that way for long.
248 Burwood Road