Bawa Cafe, Hawthorn

5/01/2017 , 0 Comments

Located in the heart of Hawthorn, Bawa Cafe is situated near a couple of eateries just off Glenferrie Road. Opened by the owners of Dukes Coffee Roasters, the cafe is easily accessible by tram 16 or the Belgrave/Lilydale line.

Large windows occupy most of the cafe to allow plenty of natural light to enter, and plants hang from the tall ceilings to give it a spacious, open feel. There was about a 10 minute wait for a table on a Sunday when we went, and our food came in about 20 minutes. As it was quite packed when we went, it did feel quite noisy, and together with the loud music made us feel like we had to raise our voices slightly to hear each other.


There's a large range of dishes to try from at Bawa Cafe, and most have either a vegan/vegetarian or gluten free option, to cater for these dietary requirements. There's also a few specials of the day and a display cabinet of pastries and desserts at the counter. We went with a grilled mixed mushroom dish ($18), a green salad ($17) and a sweet potato and kale okonomiyaki ($19). Drinks wise, we got a cappuccino, which was quite milky but not very strong, and it would've been good to have a bit more chocolate sprinkles on top.

The grilled mixed mushrooms were a special of the day, and was served on toast with kaiserfleish (ham), whipped mascarpone, poached eggs and a macadamia dukkah. The mushrooms themselves had good flavour and the natural sweetness came through, complimented by the whipped mascarpone which also had strong flavours, however to the point of being too creamy by the end of the dish. The eggs were slightly overcooked and the yolk wasn't very gooey, but the kaiserfleish had a good crunch without being too oily, and tasted similar to bacon.


The green salad consisted of snow peas, sugar snap peas, broccolini, kale, green hummus, a poached egg and tamari seeds. This was a light and refreshing dish, and initially you may think you need to add salt or more dressing as there's so much greens, but it was surprisingly full of flavour. The peas in particular were very flavoursome, and the chickpeas that were at the bottom of the dish added a crunch as well. The amount of hummus dressing was just enough to make the dish not dry, and the egg was cooked perfectly. It was a surprisingly filling dish, even without any protein.


The sweet potato and kale okonomiyaki came with grilled chorizo, poached eggs and a kewpie mayo & white miso salad. This was a twist on the traditional japanese pancake which is made of cabbage, eggs, flour and a protein that was really enjoyable and less doughy, with more sweet potato and kale than there was flour. It was full of flavour, and the slaw on the side was very light, contrasting with the chorizo that was very heavy and salty. It was quite hard to cut into with a tough skin, and it almost felt like the chorizo wasn't needed as the rest of the dish was flavoursome enough. The eggs were perfectly cooked, oozing out when cut into and providing a sauce to the okonomiyaki. The portion was actually too much to finish, and for the price, was a very generous amount.


All the dishes at Bawa Cafe were quite generous in portion, and our dishes were all under $20 which is quite surprising. Would be worth a try  and one of the more enjoyable brunch places in the area.

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Price: $$

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