In the space that was formally Canvas / Chester White / a million other things, Hawthorn Common looks set to take root. Owners Danny Colls (Café Racer and Silo by Joost) and George Sykotis (The Press Club, Jimmy Grants and Gazi) have created a space that is modern, spacious and intriguing: covering the walls are black and white portraits of those who have helped create Hawthorn Common, past clients, builders and tradesmen, and Colls’ baby daughter, Poppy.
The place is a model for sustainability, with the food going full circle. Everything is “milled, rolled, fermented, baked, preserved, dried, roasted, composted and returned to grow again” reads the menu. This isn’t such a shock when you consider that one of the owners helped establish Silo by Joost – the CDB cafe where nothing goes to waste.
At Hawthorn Common, the philosophy is much the same. The coffee is roasted in house (they have three of their own blends), herbs are picked fresh from the garden, and all the bread and rolls are baked in house from flour milled on site. They also culture their own yoghurt and pickle and preserves their own fruit and vegetables. It’s a wonder they have any time left to cook.
But Chef Stefano Rosi (ex-Café Vue and Vue du Monde) does manage to find time to create dishes that are elegant and beautifully executed. Dishes like the cured trout with radish, beetroot and wasabi mousse are pretty as a picture and beautifully balanced ($18.00). The oily trout paired with the sweet beetroot is a classic pairing.
Even breakfasts arrive looking like they’ve already had the beautiful filter applied. The “Common Eggs” are in fact not so common: served poached or scrambled with mushrooms, silverbeet, tomato and bacon crumble with a beetroot relish, it is a unique take on an otherwise pedestrian dish. The silverbeet replaces the typical sautéed spinach and does so without compromising on flavour. It’s a good substitution, and one that makes it difficult to go back to the mundane.
If you’re tired of the usual breakfasts on offer around Melbourne, you should try the black pudding served on toast with peaches, apple and fennel. Be warned: it’s a rich dish, so order a side of silverbeet to cut through all that richness.
If black pudding isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other more conventional breakfast dishes on offer. There’s mushrooms served with feta and watercress which comes loaded with cheese. Otherwise if you like sweet breakfasts, there’s pancakes with vanilla and honey syrup on offer that will make your friends jealous.
Had a late night? Hawthorn Common has you covered. While everyone else is tucking into their grain salad (yes, there’s one on the menu), you should order the Common Burger with mustard mayo, pickles bacon, tomato, cheese and lettuce served with wedges and homemade tomato sauce ($18.00). It’s by no means the best burger going round – the brioche is a bit too crumbly for my liking, but it does the trick.
Hawthorn Common is (hopefully) the end to a revolving door of cafes to open at 302 Burwood Road. Visit for breakfast and lunch through the week, or pop in for dinner on Friday nights. If you’re up early Saturday, they even host yoga on the deck outside. Make sure you order a kale smoothie to enjoy after.