Hash Coffee (113 Hardware Street) is such a typically Melbourne brunch spot. Nestled away on a lane way in the City, its graffitti-esque exterior and industrialised, minimal interior are everything you would imagine a well-hyped Melbourne brunch spot to be. They serve a range of sweet and savoury breakfast options, and lunch options too (both are available all day, which I liked) and they also have the option to build your own breakfast (which I also liked).
Hash was busy from when we arrived but we were instantly made to feel welcome and offered a table. While they offer a mix of seating from smaller tables, to larger benches with stools for big groups, they haven’t fell into the overcrowding trap than many places slip into and managed to maintain a good balance of lively yet intimate. The thoughtful layout of the cafe, with the counter in the centre helps this.
Hash came close to perfection for me in terms of a place to brunch. I was kind of prepared to hate it with it’s trying-too-hard to be cool, Melbourne cliche first impression, but unfortunately, it’s just cool, in that effortless way that only places who know they are on to a good thing can be. Now, I know I’m mixing up the usual order of things here by having food before service, but my brunch was fab! We both opted for the build your own option, although I had to literally flip a coin to decide as there were so many great sweet options (sorry Hash, I think you are going to be seeing a lot more of me). I’m not even covering what Mr Boring had, as I’m getting almost as bad now: poached eggs, sourdough, bacon, tomatoes (good, beyond amazing, great and great). I’m not taking anything away from the bacon and tomatoes here which were both top quality, but the sour dough was unbelievably good, absolutely spot on – I could have eaten a whole loaf of it! Eggs were a little under-cooked for me (but I really am nit-picking here), they were still really good. Added touches like offering cracked black pepper on top, and the option of sparkling water on tap just pushed this place over the edge into exceptional brunch spot.
Finally the service… We were served by three different people during our meal. 2/3 of that service was some of the best, most welcoming service I have had while in Melbourne, with time taken to pay attention to little details and ensure we were completely happy and comfortable. No mean feat for a busy City Centre cafe. Unfortunately the other 1/3 of the service was pretty disappointing, thus creating the “close to perfection” in the previous paragraph. Now maybe she was having a bad day, was feeling unwell, or had a hangover, I really don’t know but her manner was quite abrupt – throwing the knives and forks down on the table and not making an effort to straighten them, or the statement “I was going to offer you more drinks but I can see that you are fine” and walking off before we had chance to answer! All I can say is thank goodness for the other two staff going above and beyond to still make our experience amazing, because had we only been served by this latter person, this would be a very different review.
All in all, I’m going to assume the service is generally great – the other staff seemed too good for it be to chance, and conclude that despite my best efforts to hate its Melbourne cliches, Hash is a really good spot for a CBD brunch. Stylish and trendy, yet unpretentious, Hash puts a thoughtful, caring spin on both its menu and its service which for me, made it stand out above the masses – even without its instagrammable hot chocolate – as a highlight of the CBD brunch scene.