921 High St
Mon – Wed: 8am – 3pm
Thur – Sat: 8am – 11pm
“Spain is a beautiful country. It is historic, a little rough and a little refined. There is so much jamon there it is ridiculous, making for lovely stop offs where visitors can enjoy snacks and a small serve of wine – otherwise known as chato. This friendly and informal experience is the inspiration for Chato, a newly opened family-run cafe restaurant on the north side of town.
Located on the busy side of High st, Thornbury, the restaurant is located across from Little Henris. The interior is casually styled with a couple of small tables for two out the front for those who who are looking for air.
The coffee here is by Niccolo, an Italian style coffee roasted in Resevoir, Melbourne. My past experience with Niccolo coffee has been bitter like typical Italian blends, and so on this occasion I avoided it, instead going for a Masala Chai Tea [$4]. The tea was served black and had a therapeutic aroma of cardamom and cinnamon.
The brunch and lunch menu has clear Spanish influences with some Spanish titles (“flamenco”, “Moreilla con potatas”). Casting my eyes over the menu, it was hard to go past La Bomba – goats cheese and roasted cauliflower pancake with avocado, heirloom tomatoes, a trio of mushrooms, a poached egg and romesco sauce [$17.50]. I was with the Doctor on this occasion, who ordered the Torrijas – brioche dipped in vanilla & lemon scented milk, lightly fried and served with poached pear, Canadian maple syrup & rosewater yoghurt [$12.50].
Having seen Mr LBs recent dinner write up on Chato (which looked fantastic), I was trying to moderate my hopes for this venues brunch experience. Often venues are good at one and average at the other, and that was unfortunately the experience I had here.
Don’t get me wrong – the food was lovely and the Masala Chai was great. But with Melbourne’s very competitive brunch scene the overall experience was not… an experience. Not as I expected dinner there would be anyway.
The La Bomba was tasty – the cauliflower and goats cheese base could have easily been mistaken for a potato rosti – it was flat but tasty. The mushrooms were essentially the ‘meat’ of the dish. There was one big Portobello mushroom that was bursting with juice. The romesco sauce was nutty and a little creamy.
The Doctor’s dish was a bit hit and miss. The brioche was heavenly – “I could eat this all day.” It was soft, sweet and very French toast.
The pear was poached in wine, and while I thought it was interesting and tasty, the Doctor did not enjoy it. The most unusual part of the dish was the rosewater yogurt, which did not taste like rosewater at all, but unusually like clag. This isn’t a comment I make lightly – the smell and taste were very strong.
Overall Chato was a nice brunch experience. I suspect their lunch and dinner offerings are much stronger dining contenders and perhaps more polished.”
Final thought: “Spanish brunch for the western palette”