428 Malvern Road
Prahran, VIC 3181
Sun – Sat: 7am – 4pm
Public Hoilday: 8am – 4pm
See our previous review of Hobba here.
Hobba has been operating in its South Yarra ‘garage style’ location for some time. It has been a favorite of Brunch Addict since its inception and the feeling has not diverted. Hobba is the perfect place for shoppers to take a break, with decent coffee and fine brunch options.
Hobba has come a long way since our first review, with the family owners investing back into the cafe over time. The vibrant natural lighting exposes warm and inviting decor. A mixture of industrial and modern touches brings a sense of completeness – and that’s only during the brunch period. At night Hobba turns into a private function space. Catering for weddings, engagements and birthdays, no event is too big or small. The private dining room dubbed ‘The Wolfpack Room’, allows for an informal approach to private dinning that smartly removes the outside ‘white noise’ of South Yarra.
It is here that we, Mr LB and Miss SL, found ourselves sitting down with a number of Melbourne’s Food Bloggers – who are so lovely and friendly – to taste and experience the newly launched Autumn menu from Hobba. Introduced to the owner Con Katheklakis and head chef Rhys Hunter, the tasting menu highlights the Hobba classics and innovative dishes.
Hobba function dish: Crispy calamari and Asian salad
“Simple and tasty starter. Nothing beats well-cook calamari. I was complemented with a well executed salad, which extenuated the flavours of the calamari. It was a a bit tricky to consume with a beverage in the other hand, but worth the juggle as an event starter.”
“I really liked this tasty little morsel- it was simple, fresh and delicious. The calamari was cooked just right with a nice crispy exterior and soft insides. It was nice that they didn’t try too hard and ruin the natural freshness of the calamari.”
Hobba’s Vietnamese ‘Banh mi’- Lemongrass, ginger and Asian flavours, served with marinated cooked pork loin, Asian vegetables, chicken liver pâté, pork crackling crumb and radish, wombok and slaw salad, in a sweet and buttery brioche bun.
“An interesting start to the tasting menu as Hobba introduces a Vietnamese staple to its brunch menu – Banh mi. It had all the trimmings of a solid banh mi with a touch of lux. The pork crackle dusting, soft brioche bun and the house-made chicken liver pate highlighted the traditional Asian flavours. Complementing with a refreshing Asian salad, the banh mi had opened our minds to the idea of being a brunch dish.”
“This was my favorite dish of the night! Okay, perhaps I’m a sucker for strong Asian flavours, but this was beautifully executed. The use of brioche was a small yet unique twist, leveraging sweetness and crispness rather than crusty bread to lift the flavours of the banh mi. The slaw was also very delicious and fresh, with crispy crackling peaking through the dish. Delicious!”
Wild mushrooms – Woodear, enoki and oyster mushrooms, served with sherry jus, green chives and a slow poached egg (65 degrees Celsius).
“I really wanted to love this dish because of its beautiful features. The fried enoki mushrooms looked and tasted brilliant; as did the oyster mushroom which delivered a defining flavour on the palate. Whilst this dish explores the strong mushroom flavours as a vegetarian dish, it didn’t resonant well with me. There was a general sogginess to this dish and the slow 65 degree egg didn’t help or add to the flavour. I might have enjoyed the dish more had there been a poached egg. But don’t be quick to dismiss, this dish is for the mushroom fan or vegetarian who wants more than just the lazy avocado on toast.”
“The standout component of this dish was the mix of mushrooms and that exquisite sherry jus. The jus almost had a balsamic vinegar like effect on the mushrooms, darkening their colour and creating a sweetness. They were plump and juicy. So nice to eat! The eggs are almost a specialty at Hobba, so they of course cooked it to perfection!”
Pan seared snapper – Served with cauliflower puree, potato gratin, asparagus and heirloom beets and purple cauliflower.
“Nothing is more satisfying than a beautifully plated autumn brunch dish, and the pan seared snapper captured this perfectly. The assortment of autumn vegetables created the perfect garden bed to accentuate the snapper. The snapper was cooked to perfection, with a soft crisp crunch from the skin and a delightfully moist centre. The tasty cauliflower purée brought the dish together.”
“This was a beautifully autumn dish that was more on the lunch side of brunch. The skin was perfectly crispy, and the vegetables were juicy and fresh. The potato gratin was delightful. This dish was perfectly light yet filling – a great option for when your looking for something lighter.”
Chili con carne – Served with 10-hour confit brisket and goats cheese croquette. Topped with a slow poached egg (65 degree Celsius) and shaved dark chocolate.
“The chili con carne had the texture and look of what comfort food should look like. Particularly appealing in the colder days of autumn, the thick tomato and chill base with 10-hour brisket was delicious and addictive. The goats cheese croquette injected a creamy textured and the poached egg allows the diner to either eat it solo or mix the yolk to reduce the heat. Topped with fine shavings of dark chocolate (which I struggled to pin point) the Chili con Carne delivers a greater flavour experience than its traditional roots.”
“This was a dense one and an interesting take on brunch. The egg yolk mixed into the con carne turned this into one meaty breakfast. The con carne had a mid-heat bite to it, which was nice. The croquettes were deliciously crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The meat got a little lost in this dish though, which is a real pity as a stronger brisket flavour would had been a fabulous mix.”
Hobba staple: Alfa Feast – Southern style slow cooked pulled pork served with fried eggs, fresh alfalfa salad and pear cider reduction hollandaise.
“I really like the way Hobba do their fried eggs. There is something cheerful about them with its glossy-like orange yolk and perfect egg white circle. This dish complements the greatness of Hobba’s skill in perfecting the fried egg and was complemented with moist and tasty pulled pork. The pulled pork goes terrifically well with the alfalfa salad and was perfect to mop up the pear cider hollandaise. Well executed and a shame I couldn’t have more!
“Honestly I was pretty stuffed at this point! the fried egg was perfectly executed and the pear cider reduction was beautiful, however, I felt that there was too much alfalfa which drowned out the flavours of the pulled pork.”
On a side note, we were graced with a few Burger Blogs (yes, that is a thing now) who chowed down the ‘Hobba burger’ – pretty impressive if we don’t say ourselves.
Hotcakes – Fluffy hotcakes served w seasonal berries, whipped mascarpone, honeycomb, vanilla bean and house-made maple syrup.
“It’s hard to topple the great hotcakes of Proud Mary or Top Paddock, however I think Hobba deserves a special mention. Being the final and dessert dish for the night, the Hot Cake was thick and exceptionally fluffy. Topped with a combination of mascarpone, honeycomb, vanilla bean and maple syrup allowed for a distinctive sugar hit, but also balanced. With a final touch of a slice of strawberry and micro herbs, there is enough to be excited about without the dish having all ‘the bells and whistles’.
“These hotcakes were great! A single, fluffy hotcakes that was an inch thick topped with a vanilla mascarpone… heavenly! I was beyond full at this point to thoroughly enjoy this sweet treat, but it’s definitely worth a munch if you’re in the mood for something sweet!”
Hobba continues to deliver a strong menu and customer focus. The family are genuinely interested in continual improvement as they serve up seasonally fresh dishes. The big question is – are you ready to taste the new additions?”