398 Tooronga Rd
Hawthorn East VIC 3123
Sat – Sun: 8am – 4pm
“The café landscape can be categorised into three tiers: crap, great and outright exceptional. A crap café can be spotted and assessed in an instant. However, in recent years, the distinction between a great and outright exceptional Melbourne cafe has become blurred.
A café is not outright exceptional just because it has terrific social media engagement. Vice-versa, a café designed with a clean aesthetic doesn’t automatically mean its food offerings are on-point. Our recent visit to Mr & Mrs Anderson highlights this point.
Operating on a corner along Tooronga Road, Mr & Mrs Anderson is strategically located to feed the locals of Hawthorne East. The premise elegantly wraps around the corner with floor to ceiling glass windows, capturing the natural light. The café design is inviting, yet a very standard and clean look.
Mr & Mrs Anderson is well resourced, friendly and attentive, while the café happily bustles away during a busy service period. There were no long waits to be served and the staff helpfully catered to our needs – allowing us to move to another table due to the winter breeze from the entrance door – as we enjoyed a late Sunday brunch.
Coffee is supplied by Axil, but on this occasion I happily switched to a bottle of sparkling water. It’s great to see more cafes and restaurants ditching the overdone San Pellegrino bottle, to a refreshing sparkling taste straight from the tap. Mr & Mrs Anderson offers Purezza sparkling water, an emerging Italian born, Australian raised, water brand that offers a chilled and refined sparkling water. And at [$5] for 750ml, its quite reasonable when you compare to what you would pay for a 500ml bottle of that Italian brand.
The current menu offers a diverse selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes with limited meat options. There is a noticeable ‘Ottolenghi’ inspiration to each dishes, with a sense of abundance. The use of grains and pulses as ingredients in addition to the plating vegetables make each dish look appealing. Case in point is the Warm garden salad which is a frequent feature on their Instagram account.
Deciding on the Scrambled eggs with confit habanero, queso fresco, guajillo dust, corn, capsicum, black beans and spring onion salsa, fresh coriander on toast (v) [$18.50] I was a little disappointed. Comparing to the other offerings that had awesome flavour profiles (check out Mr SL’s dish), this dish was very safe. The positive: the salsa was great. Using fresh black beans combined with the other fresh vegetables delivered a real robust fresh flavour was a good move. The negative: the scramble eggs were not up to scratch. Binding with the queso blanco added nice creamy taste, yet at times it was lost within the egg. Unfortunately, the eggs were slightly dry and really didn’t elevate the dish to bring it on par with the freshness of the Mexican flavour the rest of the dish had to offer. There was no defining spice, and no attempt to incorporate a flour tortilla/taco into the dish… But it isn’t the worst scrambled eggs you will ever have.
On paper, Mr & Mrs Anderson is an exciting and vibrant café that hits most of the ‘brunch-goer’ criteria, and overall it was a good experience. There is the modern and pleasing aesthetic, friendly staff and a real fun vibe. It’s a great café for the area and I’m sure the locals will appreciate a coffee shop within walking distance. Yet – for me, anyway – at this current time, it’s not outright exceptional.”
“Life is funny. There are people that you meet who are friends for life, people who are passers-by, and people who leave an impact, if not at least temporarily. Mr LB and I have known each other for almost nine years now. We have similar likes and dislikes, and can go without seeing each other months on end and slip back into casual conversation. It has been almost three months since we caught up and went for brunch and even longer since we have blogged about it!
For this review we decided to check out Mr and Mrs Anderson in Hawthorn East. The venue was a lot smaller than what we expected, featuring white walls and wooden panelling, with a splash of blue mosaic tiling.
By this point in the day Mr LB had already had a couple of coffees, but that didn’t stop me from ordering a double espresso by Axil. My coffee has a sweet nose to it, and there was a hint of nectarine on first sip that was immediately overpowered by ashy notes and smokey overtones. The sparkling water help to clear the palate between sips.
For mains I opted on the Caramelised dark chocolate brioche, crystallised dark chocolate, dark chocolate matcha truffle with raspberry coulis and sorbet, fresh berries, candied walnuts and flowers [$16.50]. Only about 2000 calories right!?
While we waited for our mains, we talked about the latest news with our partners, travel and work. I’d forgotten he has spent a couple of months in Sydney, and as Mr LB reeled off tips on where to go and what to do while I was up there for work, I was grateful for his tips.
The brioche was much denser in form than what I was anticipating, and was beautifully coated in caramelised chocolate. My first taste of the brioche found that it was a little bit dry… But as I made my way into the centre, it became more and more moist. It had a chocolate centre that was complimentary to the brioche. The exterior was a little bit sticky in a delightful way. My favourite part of this dish was the raspberry coulis sorbet, which was an explosion of fresh raspberries on the palate. It was perfectly complimentary to the brioche and added cold textures against a room temperature base. The candied walnuts weren’t very obvious in the dish, but added a crunchy subtlety to the dish along with the crystallised chocolate.
Mr LB & I compared dishes, and while he seemed to enjoy having a hot brunch in front of him, he struggled with differentiating factors on his plate. My dish, on the other hand, was a winner.
Another great feature in the dish was the truffles, best described in taste as little matcha-coated brownie balls. They were dense but not sweet, which was critical to their success and contribution to the dish. The whipped chocolate on the plate was what added potent richness to the dish and I liked having the ability to add or subtract it to the various elements on the plate.
I really enjoyed my sweet breakfast at Mr & Mrs Anderson and thought that it was cosy. Acoustically, it was quite challenging to hear at the start of our brunch, but as people left it because easier to talk to each other. Overall I enjoyed it and would go again.”
Final thought: “Delicious for those with a sweet tooth.”