Food: Nutella stuffed pancakes, Portobello Mushroom, Potato Rosti, Chef’s Special
Located in a leafy, suburban neighbourhood and behind the facade of a 19th century terraced house, Shanklin is the apotheosis of a local cafe. With a healthy influx of clientele ranging from families to business people, you get a real feeling that this is the kind of place people come back to again and again, and it’s easy to see why. The interior has a great atmosphere to it, with exposed brick walls, colourful artwork, warm lighting, a large wooden panelled wall and a brilliantly designed arched timber ceiling. Made up of several overlapping panels, this ceiling is a tastefully trendy, but very cool looking feature. There’s also a large, bright courtyard area, unusually located at the front of the cafe, with a retractable roof that offers a light, airy contrast to the main interior.
We loved the staff here. They have a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humour whilst having such obvious enthusiasm for what they are doing. Detailed explanations of every item on their menu as well as informed suggestions means you know exactly what you are getting. They want you to have something you will love, but they also want to have fun and make you laugh in the process, and they succeed at both of these admirably. After much consideration and humorous rebukes from our waiter, we settled on ordering the portobello mushroom, the potato rosti and the nutella stuffed pancakes.
The portobello mushroom is a gorgeous looking dish bursting with vibrant colours. Panko crumbed with zaatar spice on a bed of spinach, stacked with haloumi, roasted capsicum and topped with 2 wonderfully poached eggs. A little romesco sauce and chilli oil just finish it off perfectly. We loved this dish and it is no exaggeration to say this is one of, if not the single best brunch dishes we’ve had this year. The flavours work incredibly well together and the crumbed mushroom has a glorious texture. It is also a great option for you veggies out there.
Another great looking option, the potato rosti was a little more of a traditional and straightforward dish. A good, crispy rosti loaded with a very generous stack of bacon, a couple of those perfectly runny poached eggs (this time topped with hollandaise) and a good serving of asparagus, the flavours on this dish worked so well together. Overall a very mild dish with a good balance, no one ingredient felt overwhelming, and thanks to the nice thick rosti and the amount of bacon, this is a dish that is sure to fill you up.
As a little added extra, the chef rustled up a special little dish, for us to try. A mix of enoki and oyster mushrooms that were lightly floured and beautifully fried, they were complemented by 2 poached eggs on a bed of mashed potato with a scattering of almond flakes around the plate. This was such a delicate looking dish. The mash was nice and light and the mushrooms had a lovely taste. The almond flakes also worked really well. It’s great to see a chef who loves to experiment and try new recipes, and obviously loves what he does. More dishes like this one please!
Somehow we managed to make room for a sweet dish to finish it all off, and so we had a crack at their nutella stuffed pancakes. This was a bit of a monster of a dish, with 2 thick, stacked pancakes and 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, strawberries, grilled banana, oreo crumbs and lavishly topped with more nutella sauce. It also has an oreo crown to finish it all off. It looked immense. If you can manage to finish this dish off on your own then you deserve a medal. We shared it and still didn’t manage it all. Every mouthful has a beautifully rich, chocolatey taste. The pancakes are thick but quite light and fluffy, and the nutella stuffing is restrained. As we often find with these kind of chocolate rich dishes, a little more fruit, especially strawberries, would have helped bring a little more balance, but if you’re someone who craves a good sweet brunch, you cannot go wrong with this.
Address: 500 Tooronga Road, Hawthorn East
Mon 7am to 4pm
Tue 7am to 4pm
Wed 7am to 4pm
Thu 7am to 4pm
Fri 7am to 4pm
Sat 7am to 4pm
Sun 7am to 4pm
Parking: There is street parking outside the front, or if that’s full there are plenty of spaces for up to 4 hours in nearby side streets.
Getting here on PT: It’s about a 4 minute walk from both the 70 and 75 tram alight at Tooronga Road or the 624 bus route is also quite close.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Shanklin Cafe, Hawthorn. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.