659 Glenferrie Road
Hawthorn, VIC 3122
What is better than all-day brunch? Nothing I tell you, NOTHING. Considering that I have to get up at what I think is an ungodly hour to get to work every day, it’s pretty hard to convince me to give up my weekend sleep-ins. Yes, even for food!
Now that I’ve finished my studies (for the time being!), it was double the pleasure to stroll into Crabapple Kitchen in the afternoon for some brunch-lunch. The candy-striped awning of Crabapple Kitchen heralded some wonderfully rustic charm. The cafe was long, narrow, and undoubtedly Victorian. The effect was completed with wooden cabinets peeling with age, floral upholstery, and the most comfortable wooden wicker chairs I’ve ever sat in.
Contrary to the provincial decor, the menu was actually modern and progressive. Not only were the brunch and lunch offerings complex and imaginative, there are also travel-inspired dishes from all around the globe. There are some great beans roasting, as well as milkshakes and spiders for the young and young at heart. The wine list is nothing to scoff at either, especially if you’re keen on pairing your brunch with a $200 bottle. To top it all off, Crabapple Kitchen has come up with the wonderful concept of Friday Night Flights – a 5-course degustation inspired by a new and exotic destination each week.
Just because it was a Wednesday, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t do a little bit of travelling of our own. The Nicosia, Cyprus, Greece ($19.5) was exactly the kind of thing to invoke food envy. Constructed like a multi-layer pizza, the circle of spongy flatbread was an intoxicating mix of ground lamb, bulgar wheat salad, garlic yoghurt, and a za’atar-fried egg.
The bright, intense flavours of this dish were breathtaking. I just couldn’t get enough of the complex but flawless medley of each mouthful; the sharp yoghurt came up against the heavily spiced lamb, whilst each bite of the bulgar wheat salad revealed new ingredients – popping pomegranate, musty goats cheese, and crunchy pistachio kernels. Pulling it all together was the creamy yolk and aromatic za’atar spice mix, holding everything in one intoxicating package.
Equally as tempting was the Tuscan Bruschetta with Mick Nunn’s Full Blood Wagyu Pastrami ($19.5). Compared to the vivacity of the Cyprus, this dish was less conspicuous; it’s the quality of the ingredients that really made this dish stand out.
The palette of tastes on the bruschetta was an absolute classic. The mushy peas mingled with ribbons of velvety beef, garnished with sweet caramelised onion petals and dollops of tangy feta. It was such a delicious combination of flavours that I was extra disappointed by just how tough and unyielding the toast was, and just how hard it was to cut. Maybe I should’ve just eaten it with my hands.
Crabapple Kitchen is utterly charming, and the care they take with their ingredients is undeniably impressive. As far as the whole experience went, it was hard to fault. I did however think that the portions were on the frugal side – good if you’re watching portion sizes, but otherwise you might need some dessert and a coffee to fill up properly. Is that a problem? You decide.
Rating: 14/20 – mrs crabapple.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.