If you’re walking down Hardware Street and looking for Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, just look out for the lightbox with ‘#’. In this social media saturated world, there’s no need to actually spell out H-A-S-H to brunch goers hunting for the cool cafe.
Inside Hash the decor is dark, jagged and steely, with a rabbit warren of single booths, small tables and communal benches snaking up to a mezzanine area. The upstairs area is the best place to go if you want to hide from the busy hum downstairs.
I was invited to try some of Hash’s menu but before we get to the food let’s talk about THAT hot chocolate ($6).
This awe-inspiring beehive of house made milk fairy floss and beaker of Mork dark chocolate has been the talk of foodie social media since it first emerged. On a weekend the cafe has been known to sell 100 hot chocolates a day!
Basically you pour the molten mixture into the tower fairy floss, watching as the tower collapses onto itself and sweetens the 85% cocoa chocolate. The resulting drink is smooth, intense and not too sweet and the theatrical experience just adds to the fun.
If you’re not a hot chocolate fan the coffee is made using Zest beans though there are plans to roast on site.
The breakfast menu is available all day and I was given small tastes of some dishes, so the photos may not actually reflect the portions of a main meal.
Highlights included the crusty leek and cheddar croquettes ($19.50) with cauliflower puree, shreds of ham hock, cavolo nero and a poached egg poached in turmeric which didn’t impart much flavour but did give the dish a jolly yellow glow.
The coconut yoghurt pannacotta ($15.50) could have been a little less firm but I liked the artistry of the accompanying toasted nuts and grains and delicate flowers.
I returned another day to try their grilled banana and pecan loaf ($18.50). I really liked the chunky nuts inside the springy loaf but thought that it would be better balanced in terms of texture and flavour with either burnt honey mascarpone or white chocolate custard, not both. I also thought compared to some of the other dishes the price was disproportionate to the size of the loaf you got.
The CBD is a bit of a dead zone for breakfast on the weekends so Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters is a welcome discovery. I think some of the dishes could be simplified to highlight the top quality of the ingredients – the kitchen evidently cares about the provenance of its goods given the producers are name-checked on the menu.
And make sure you order the signature hot chocolate!