You hipsters may think Hawthorn is all about leafy parks, yummy mummies and private school kids called Sebastian. And it indeed may be… but there is so much more to this eastside ‘burb! Hawthorn is moving on up in the desirable postcode stakes, with a bunch of awesome cafes popping up at a rate of knots, my all-time favourite wine bar, and some of the best spots for gift shopping in Melbourne. Go the Hawks!
If you haven’t been to the Yo-Chi Hawthorn venue, seriously, what have you been doing with yourself?! Yo-Chi Hawthorn serves Melbourne's best all-natural frozen yogurt and vegan smoothies from its Glenferrie Road digs. Its self-serve system means that you can DIY your own delicious healthy frozen yogurt treat, adding a host of mouth-watering toppings such as homemade granola, freshly cut fruit, organic halva, chocolate drops, toasted coconut, nuts and more. Oh, and did we mention that they’ve just introduced loyalty cards too? You know what to do, people!
Axil Coffee Roasters
Known for roasting some of Melbourne’s best coffee, Axil Coffee Roasters are masters of the Hawthorn breakfast game. Their red velvet pancakes are a thing of beauty and the fodder of #foodporn dreams. Grab a bunch of mates and head here for Sunday brunch—be prepared to have to wait a bit, but it’s well worth it.
Blood Orange Foodstore
Relatively new to the Hawthorn scene, Blood Orange is a wonderful combination of grocer, corner store and cafe. Down a yummy brekkie of the freshest produce in the courtyard, then grab some veg to go. Feeling lazy? They do take-home dinners, too. Result!
Even if you conscience is clear, Melbourne cafe Liar Liar is a must-visit. Dishing up some of the best breakfasts in Melbourne (go the smashed avo), grab a perch at the communal table, and peruse the weekend papers over an exceptional cup of Joe.
Dishing up homely Italian food (the meatballs are a must), Rococo is a Hawthorn dining institution. It’s a big space, great for group bookings and special occasions, but also intimate enough for a cosy, low-key date.
Operating for over a decade-and-a-half, Ocha is a Melbourne Japanese institution. Relocated to Church Street’s Beehive building in recent years, the bright and stylish Japanese restaurant dishes up excellent sushi, sashimi, noodle dishes and more.
Also taking its cues from Japan, this Hawthorn cafe is cute as a button! With a sweet, rustic fitout featuring children’s books on the shelves and a round communal table, Tana is the ideal space to take a break and enjoy a matcha latte and a mashed potato sandwich. Yes, really!
Penang Coffee House
A Burwood Road gem, Penang Coffee House dishes up delicious Malaysian hawker-style food in unpretentious surrounds. Great for a quick cheap feed or takeaway, we recommend the Beef Rendang. BYO only.
Lovers of bread, muffins, danishes and all things carbs, you need to know about Knead Bakers, a great little Hawthorn bakery. Grab a bite for brekkie or lunch; whatever you do, take home a loaf of their fresh-baked sourdough.
Home to some of Melbourne’s best burgers, Humburger on Glenferrie Road has all your beef-and-bun needs covered. The Melburnian comes with beef, spicy mayo, jalapenos, tomato, lettuce, onion and chunky mayo. Order a side of Disco Fries and polish off your fat feed with a salted caramel sundae. Bliss!
Also on Glenferrie is the second outing from the ramen experts at CBD fave Hakata Gensuke. Dishing up some of Melbourne’s best Japanese noodle soups, spice fiends should try the God Fire—tonkotsu broth with Gensuke’s secret “spicy fire”, topped with handmade noodles, pork cha-su, black fungus and spring onion. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
If you haven't picked up what I’m putting down, Glenferrie Road is booming right now. Case in point: the recent addition of the fourth Fonda Mexican restaurant in Melbourne. Expect all your Fonda favourites, and make sure you try recent menu addition, the Mex-Bim-Bap.
Gibson's Wine Bar
The neighbourhood version of Cheers, not to be confused with the actual Hawthorn Cheers bar frequented by students, Gibson’s is a personal favourite of mine. A bottle shop and wine bar combo, it’s delightfully rustic and low-key, with the occasional spot of live music (sometimes impromptu from customers). Grab a glass, some cheese and settle in for the long haul. An all-round parent/date/girlfriends pleaser.
Small Patch Wine Store
Further up Burwood Road, you’ll find another great wine bar-bottle shop, Small Patch. A slightly fancier affair, drop in to pick up a bottle of something special, or check out one of their wine tasting evenings. Wine and cheese—yes please!
Occupying the space that formerly housed Baranows Cigar Lounge (cough), The Kilburn is the most exciting thing to happen in the Hawthorn bar scene since, well, ever. Now a stylish cocktail and whisky bar, the tapas menu will tempt your palate and the array of booze on display will dazzle.
Maiike on Church Street is a beautiful, light-filled, wooden-floored shop selling a covetable array of classic womenswear, fun prints, soft knitted toys, blankets and childrens clothing, and some of the cutest gift cards we’ve found. The perfect spot for picking up a little something for your best friend’s snotty rugrat.
A treasure trove for gift shopping, The Woodsfolk’s gorgeous styling and delicious contents could bring out the inner child in anyone. From men’s grooming products, to Rifle Paper Co stationery, quirky Kip & Co bedding, Down to the Woods’ pom-pom garlands, bright wire baskets and friendly welcome mats… there is, quite literally, something for everyone here.
Readings stores are among Melbourne’s best bookstores, and we adore the Hawthorn store in particular. The perfect spot for gift shopping, we could spend days browsing the amazing selection of books, music, cards and more. There’s a cafe out the back, too. Books + coffee = winning at life.
Common Good Ethical Grocer
We first met Meneka Premkumar almost two years back, when she was a mere day or two away from opening her dream ethical grocery store. We’re pleased to say Common Good has struck a chord with locals, who have made it their go-to for healthy, organic fruit and veg, dairy and meat, as well as cleaning, baby and beauty products that are good for you and the planet.
BEAUTY & HEALTH
MADE. Beauty Space
This little slice of heaven is one of the best beauty salons in Melbourne. Using divine Sodashi products, MADE’s facials are out-of-this-world good. And the facial massage is NEXT LEVEL. The challenge: staying awake during your treatment.
Kozen is a lovely little yoga studio on Church Street. The classes are small and the teachers really know their stuff. Hot tip: yoga sesh followed by a chai at Tana = perfect weekend kickstarter.
Brow Theory Brow Bar
If your mulligrubs are getting a bit out of control, head straight to Brow Theory, one of the best spots for threading in Melbourne. Beautiful arches in next to no time.
Image Credit: Jacqui Wilkins for The Urban List