• Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters (Melbourne)

Spicing up the out-dated brunch craze, Hash brings a hint of innovation, class and creativity to Melbourne’s favourite meal of the day.  Opened by owners Syed Mirranay and Ben Lou only months ago, the place is already abuzz with coffee and lovers as word spreads taking the queues from the Hardware Society just down the lane.

Alex Asimakopoulos is the barista and Zest Coffee is the beans.  The house-roasted signature blend brings together flavours from Kenya and Ethiopia.  The food is created by Head Chef Adam Pruckner (previously at Code Black), who takes inspiration from traditional dishes with a touch of flair.

We were here for a bloggers brunch, to try the menu and see the space.  It is a cool cafe, bare wood tables, backless stools, attractive natives decorating the table.

We began with the juice of the day a refreshing combination of kale, apple, pear lime and mint.  It was sweet enough from the fruit to disguise the healthiness of the kale.  The juices at $7 may seem dear, but served in massive glass bottles, you will struggle to get through one alone.

The leek and cheddar croquettes with poached egg were nicely done.  The eggs was poached in very hot water so that the outside was hard and the yolk was liquid.  It had been done in turmeric to give an attractive yellow glow, but the taste of vinegar was stronger than that of the spice.  The croquettes were mushy in the middle with potato, pulverised leek and cheese, and crisp on the outer from frying.  The dish sat on a bed of cauliflower puree with cavolo nero on the side.  The combinations came together elegantly – the first example of Pruckner’s mastery of food design.

The avocado smash was less exciting but no doubt a well-demanded dish.  Instead of the usual toast, this was done with arepas – corn based between a chip and pancake.  These were crisp and sturdy, lightly seasoned with salt.  The avocado was moist and ripe, topped with halved cherry tomatoes and herbs.  The refreshing avocado balanced the fried arepas.

Onto sweets, we sampled the coconut yoghurt panna cotta and the rice pudding brulee.  The former was served with a pretty array of flowers (including snapdragons) and nuts.  It was delicious.  The panna cotta was creamy, with coconut and only slightly tart as a yoghurt.  Dehydrated bananas were wet but intense, giving an extra sweetness.  The smoothness of the panna cotta was met with the crunch of hazelnuts, almonds and pistachio.

The rice pudding brulee was heavily flavoured with cardamom, reminiscent of desserts in India.  This was also delicious.

One cannot pay a visit to Hash without trying the special coffee and hot chocolate.  The hot chocolate is served dark and unsweetened in a pitcher, while a mound of fairy floss awaits for sweetening.

“This is how you imagine a hot chocolate to be,” said my brother.  It was intense, rich and... hot.

For coffee I ordered a piccolo in the signature blend.  A cute bird design was the art here.  It was strong with a slight bitterness and dark berry overtones.

All up, the meal was extremely good.  There were remnants of old favourites in each dish, but the hints of creativity in the flavours came together well.  If you are able to fathom dessert for breakfast, try some of the sweeter options.

Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters
113 Hardware Street
Melbourne 3000
03 8529 0284

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