Le Flaneur

5 Church Street
Hawthorn, VIC 3122
03 9853 8587

Since I’m currently on a ‘newly-opened places’ blogging rampage, let me add a final one before we cosy up for the Christmas period. Is everybody in a holiday mood already? How do you celebrate your Christmas?
I personally am abit of a Christmas grinch. No presents, no elaborate meals, and I chucked my obligatory kris kringle gift into a grocery paperbag and tied it up with raffia string, ha ha! At least the gift itself was thoughtfully chosen…
So how did I hear about this place? Once again, I got wind of Le Flaneur through ‘secret informant’ Lachy. Any café that he recommends usually serves pretty decent coffee. However, Le Flaneur is in Hawthorn… far away for me, hence not high on my list. But Ashley who lived closer asked me to go, and in the twitter spirit of #fatboooneversaysno, I of course said “okay!”.
We visited just two days ago for brunch. It’s so nice that I now have people I can brunch with on my Wednesdays off. You have complete immunity from the mad frazzled rush of weekend crowds. Much more relaxing on weekdays… see picture above: nobody!
Does anyone know what Le Flâneur means? My half-hearted google search didn’t come up with much, although somehow the word ‘saunterer’ pops up in my mind. I see a person languidly strolling, with hands in pocket, all over urban metropolises… seeking to learn the meaning and pulse behind city life.
When Ashley and I visit a place together, it’s sometimes really really difficult for us to concentrate on reading a menu right after we’ve been seated. There’s so much around us to take in and squeal over, so many pretty things everywhere that we’re itching to capture. Ashley and I are undoubtable sufferers of the “oh-so-shiny!” syndrome. I had to slap my hands from grasping for my camera every time I turned a page, or looked at a wall, a chair, or an ornament…
This menu in particular reads like a newspaper gazette from olden times. There were lots of anthropomorphism seen in the café, even the walls had pictures of animals wearing clothes. Is there some (Baudelarian?) conceptual or historical link between that and the name of the café. Very Alice in Wonderland, a little crazy, zany and fun.
Ashley’s customary brunch beverage: the chai latte. She says it was a little hot at the start, but tasted alright.
I started off with a house blend piccolo $3. The beans come from The Maling Room, I believe. This is the first time I’ve had a piccolo served in a mini bowl-shaped cup rather than the usual piccolo glasses or mini tulips, very cute.
My piccolo was a simple, understated, mellow drink with brief dark chocolate notes… and there was the tiniest twinge of fruitiness hidden in the crema. Not too shabby, but for a piccolo, it could’ve been stronger or zestier.
Here’s me, cradling my piccolo cup.
Yes, you can see how I really really love my coffees.
I feel I should add that our waitress here was just superbly, wonderfully friendly. If there’s one thing Melbourne’s good at, it’s amazing service. But she was just stellar! She had a cute British accent that reminded me of Jamie Oliver. She made our brunch just so much brighter and cheerier, makes me realise how big a difference a warm smile and genuine friendliness makes.
Let’s move on to food. Ashley’s smashed avocado w lemon infused danish feta + soft poached kangaroo island free range eggs + sourdough $15.80 looks so so good! I could sense that she enjoyed it.
And nothing like some (posed) action shots of yolk, pouring out from perfectly poached eggs. Kinda does look like an orgasm. I think we both simultaneously went *squeeee* here.
Unlike Ashley’s brunch dish, my atlantic eggs w wilted spinach + butter scrambled kangaroo island free range eggs + smoked salmon + hollandaise sauce + sourdough $16.50 probably isn’t going to win awards in the looks department. But it’s got every classic brunch ingredient that I really love: spinach, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs. 

And phwoar, it was definitely cooked French-style, with the assumedly customary half-a-block of butter thrown into the scramble. So rich, moist and delicious! I nearly fainted when I saw that the Hollandaise sauce was poured on top of the (already rich) scrambled eggs. You know how I am with rich creamy foods, I’d normally baulk and slow down. But I wiped this one clean pretty quickly.
Brunches with Ashley always has a phase two, where we have sweets. I love that, because once our hunger has been satiated, we now have an excuse to sit longer, nurse more drinks and chat even more about food, photography, blogging, friends and life! How nice is that?

I tend to get lost when I’m looking at the sweets display, so I let her choose our desserts with impunity. She picked out three French macarons $2.50ea. Clockwise from bottom: salted butter caramel, earl grey, pistachio. Our chosen noble warriors, in pastel-coloured glory. I think they’re Macarons by Josephine, so the quality is good.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know how I am like with macarons and many Western desserts. I’d often find them way too sweet or rich. For future reference, any dessert that I declare as ‘too sweet’ is probably still going to taste heavenly to the average person on the street, ha ha!
But wait! Read on… something’s changed this time round!
Ashley had a French breakfast tea $4.50 to go with our chosen macarons.
But I of course wanted more coffee! Look at the amazing stretch of scientific-looking brewing gear here. The waitress did mention earlier that the guest blend coffee will have more interesting citrus notes to it. But she was also really keen for us to sample coffees from the other brew methods.
She brought us a sample of the day’s cold dripped ice coffee and with one sip, we were instantly sold. Oh yes, we’ll have one please!
Hello, Panama Santa Teresa Geisha cold drip $7.50, aren’t you looking just so beautiful?
Cold drips I’ve had or seen in other places are usually served in a small glass, with ice. Here, it’s a lot more elaborately presented, almost like a tea set, including jars of milk and cane sugar syrup.
Just look at the coffee ice cubes…
I’m now a cold drip convert. This drink was just elegantly delicious. Light, fruity, botanical, and yes, almost tea-like! Such a refreshing, thirst quenching drink, with summer floral notes and bright hints of newly budding leaves. The jars of sugar syrup and milk went untouched, none was needed. It’s almost unimaginable that such light flavours could come from coffee beans.
And guess what? Those (overly sweet to me) macarons… they paired magnificently with the cold drip! Just nibble a bit of macaron, and balance out the sweetness with a cooling sip of chilled Geisha. I have finally found a way to appreciate macarons and super sweet desserts… YAY! One step closer to my blog goal of getting FAT!   (^_^)
Once again, here’s a fabulous brunch with decent food, good coffees, wonderful service and great company. But the standout event here was my cold drip discovery. So good for Summer! I find it interesting seeing how my coffee choices have been changing with the seasons. I think I’m going to be exploring cold drips much more now that we’re in warmer days. They so cooling and invigorating… and you know what? Since no milk is involved, they’re zero in calories! Hah… beat that!
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