Tana Cafe

36 Church St
Hawthorn, VIC 3022
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Fakegf and I brunched here on a chilly Thursday morning in Summer. We liked the idea of having matcha lattes and light, Japanese-influenced dishes as an alternative to the usual Melbourne brunchscape of bacon and eggs. The space was small and very cosy, with friendly staff and artfully mismatched chairs.

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The menu is light, vegetable forward and healthy… where local and Western ingredients are put together to create tasty, thoughtful dishes with underlying Japanese sensibilities.

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house made sweet green tea matcha latte $4

I admit I was curious about this place mainly because of the matcha lattes, it’s just something so different. This drink came gentle, frothy and mildly sweet. Fakegf really enjoyed it, while I found it on the rich side and the whiffs of matcha that I got kept reminding me abit of seaweed… ha ha! I wonder if I’d enjoy this drink more if it was made with soy milk…

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vegetable burger $11
avocado, boiled egg, mashed potatoes, tasty cheese, tomato, apple sauce, caramelised onion, lettuce, alfalfa, beetroot and dukkah

I grabbed a vegetable burger that arrived audaciously tall and cheeky, making me burst into laughter at how impossible it’d be for me to bite into that.

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But that predicament was quickly solved with a gentle downward push, which led me into compressing the impertinent little thing into something a lot more manageable. Tastewise, this vegetable burger was wonderful, light and balanced. The buns came crisp and speckled, and I loved having avocado, mashed potatoes and boiled eggs as my ‘patty’ as opposed to something dense and “lentil-ly”.

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organic tofu salad $12
organic silken tofu, lettuce, raisin, walnuts, sesame and soy beans served with house made japanese ume (pickled plum) dressing

Fakegf picked a silken tofu salad, with initial reservations about the presence of raisins in it. But what arrived was, once again, a thoughtfully crafted dish that tasted beautiful. Everything worked together so well and while I’m normally not a fan of Japanese ume (pickled plum), the salad dressing was done so lightly and nicely here that, in my morning blurness, I kept blurting out “OMG… I love the marination!!!”.

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croque monsieur $7.50
miso flavoured bechamel sauce, tasty cheese, ham, caramelised onion, whole grain mustard and sourdough toast

We were still slightly peckish after our smallish mains, so we decided to share Tana’s version of Croque Monsieur. It’s a good and simple offering… I’d happily snack on that. However, we mainly tasted the cheese and mustard while the gentle hints of miso in the bechamel sauce were lost in the mix.

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This was a very enjoyable brunch session with dishes that are wholesome and clean… which appeals to my palate nicely. I’m more than happy to come back.

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