When a group of friends want to go for breakfast we start the process of looking for somewhere to go. I refer to it as a “process” because suggestions are offered up and I know some of the places don’t take bookings – so they get put in the “too hard basket”. I understand why places don’t take bookings but it still irritates me when these “group” occasions arise and we can’t always book. This breakfast location search was put to an end by Carly’s quick decision to book us into the Hangout Bar N Cafe in Como . What I love about this cafe is that it is easy. They take bookings, there is a relaxed “no worries” attitude from the staff, there is plenty of free parking and more importantly – plenty of room for a group!
I arrived first and had to add on an extra seat. It was no problems for the wait staff to do this for me and whilst I am aware that people changing bookings last minute can be an inconvenience, I wasn’t made to feel that it was. My coffee order was taken immediately and as other people arrived, their orders were taken too. This straight away earns big ticks from me!
The coffee used at Hangout Bar N Cafe is their own house blend. My first cup was a little on the bitter side but my second cup was spot on. Strong but smooth flavour, creamy texture and perfect temperature. Everyone who ordered a coffee commented that is was amazing before I could even ask their opinion!
There are a couple of little surprising gems on the menu but it is mainly standard breakfast fare with a good range of sweet options. Prices top out at $20 for the Big and Tall ($20) – eggs, bacon, minute steak, chipolatas, sautéed cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, toasted brioche and whipped butter. It also comes with a glass of juice. I think that is great value for money!
James ordered the Big and Tall, saying he was lured in by the offer of steak for breakfast. Both the bacon and chipolatas were of good quality and the poached eggs were cooked perfectly. Minute steak tends to get dry but this was juicy and seasoned well – tasting like it was much more than a simple “minute steak”. James said that overall the dish was fresh and nothing was without decent flavour.
The baked eggs ($16) was an aromatic blend of beans, egg and chorizo soaking in a house made sauce. The elements were balanced well but Terri said the egg was slightly overcooked. The house sauce was similar to a cacciatore sauce – big tomato flavours with plenty of good herbs for that distinct taste.
Both Kirsty and Hannah chose to have a nutritious and healthy muesli dish. Hannah ordered the bircher ($13) – soaked in apple juice and topped with mixed fruits and marscapone; Kirsty ordered the Morning Pickup ($13), which was toasted muesli topped with yogurt and fruit with a bagel on the side. This was nicely presented for what is fairly plain breakfast but the bagel wasn’t toasted enough giving it an almost stale texture. Both girls commented that the good mixture of fruit was very fresh and beautifully sweet with Hannah’s muesli having a lovely soft apple flavoured texture.
The chef’s omelette ($15) was made with feta cheese, swiss chard and chives. Unfortunately Carly thought the side of cherry tomatoes was the star of the dish as the omelette lacked enough cheese and flavour, making it a rather bland dish. Ben had similar feelings about his “soft boiled tazzie” ($15). This was a meal comprised of smoked salmon, soft boiled egg, toasted bagel with caper and lemon butter and salad. There was nothing on the plate that had stand out flavour… it was all a bit “meh”. I can see what they were trying to achieve on the plate but it all seemed a bit disjointed. As with Kirsty’s bagel, Ben also though his was under toasted.
I ordered the honey glazed 1 inch bacon ($17). This was served with avocado, habanero sauce and poached eggs. I asked to swap the poached eggs for scrambled and it was no problem. (for those who follow me on Twitter – I am “off” poached eggs). The thick bacon reminded me of a gammon steak. I almost wondered where the pineapple was! It was smoky, sticky and sweet. I loved dipping pieces in the habanero sauce, which gave a wonderful contrast of flavours. This sauce reminded me of the one served at El Publico. It was THAT good. The scrambled eggs were silky and soft but I thought the avocado was a bit of a wallflower to the rest of the dish.
We all selected different dishes and they were a little hit and miss but we all still left happy. The friendly relaxed atmosphere of the cafe and the wonderful service is something that can be a bit of a rarity these days. I loved that all the staff were happy to be there and happy to help. With a few tweaks to the food to get all dishes to the same high standard, I really think that Hangout Bar N Cafe could hit it with the big boys.
20 Preston St, Como
Breakfast served daily from 7am