BawaApril 10, 2017
248 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
Photos by Alex Stianos
Back when Melbourne was still enjoying an unusually hot and sunny March (about two weeks ago, to be precise), Alex and I were in Hawthorn and hungry for brunch. I’d seen photos from Bawa pop up on my Instagram all summer, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out for ourselves. The cafe sits next to a Bunnings on Burwood Road, and manages to make a large cavernous space feel quite homely with lots of natural light and a beautiful installation of hanging greenery.
Alex enjoyed his filter coffee but had real troubles holding the piping hot glass (unfortunately not one of those heat-insulated glasses) until the coffee had cooled down considerably.
It’s easy to see why Bawa is so popular by glancing at the menu. If the bright interior isn’t enough to draw you in, the lure of chilli scrambled eggs with kaiserfleich and pickled shiitake mushrooms should do the trick. Not one for scramblies? Try the slow braised pork with roesti and poached eggs, crowned with a glorious spoonful of herby green hollandaise.
Though tempted by the chilli scrambled eggs, I went with the sweet potato and kale okonomiyaki with grilled chorizo, eggs, kewpie and slaw. This was sensational, one of the few good brunch dishes I’ve had of late that is actually original and not just a variation on the same few dishes that populate menus in Melbourne. Surprisingly the flavours of the okonomiyaki, kewpie and chorizo worked together very well, with the slaw providing some much needed freshness.
I should note that this dish normally comes with poached eggs, but because I can’t eat undercooked eggs for the moment, the kitchen fried mine over-easy. Not as photogenic, perhaps, but just as tasty!
Alex, ever one to sample a steak if given the chance, went for the open flank steak sandwich with dijon, braised shallots, aged cheddar and watercress. Although this looks beautiful and Alex confirms it was delicious, I think this dish is a bit steep at $20, given the size. I don’t so much mind the small piece of beef, but it might have been nice to bulk the dish out a bit more with a beetroot salad, or something else to compliment the steak.
If you’re in the mood for a really great steak sandwich to have with your coffee, I’d recommend the steak sanger at Mayday in Richmond. A big scotch fillet sandwiched in some sourdough with cheddar, onion jam, salad and aioli, it’s absolutely cracking and a steal at $18!
While perusing the menu earlier, this little beauty caught my eye – blended banana, peanut butter, cacao nibs, honey and almond milk. I’m not normally a fan of almond milk, but mixed with everything else, it was just one of many lovely nutty flavours in the drink.
Overall, I was very impressed with Hawthorn’s newest addition to the brunch scene. Bawa can happily sit next to stalwarts Axil Coffee and Hawthorn Common just up the road, and I will be back for those chilli scrambled eggs!
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