Hobba is in Prahran, the other side of town for me, but it’s a testament as to how good it is that I would happily cross the river to eat there. It was one of the 3 star award winners in 2014’s Good Food Under $30.
The cafe is set in a huge warehouse space in Malvern Road. The former tyre factory is not in a shopping strip but it’s still busy (there’s often a line up on weekends) as it’s a dining destination.
The fitout aims to bring some cosiness and warmth (literally and figuratively) to the gritty, industrial space. Ceiling heaters emanate a red glow down on diners huddled in the padded plywood booths. There are tables with high stools lined up against one wall and standard height tables and chairs near the back, along with a tree taking root in the centre of the space!
Hobba‘s menu contains cafe classics for the more conservative patrons but there are exciting dishes to be found too.
It’s not often you see duck confit and mushroom croquettes with white bean truffle puree on a breakfast menu. At Hobba you can try these crispy gems with a gelatinous 62 degree poached egg, salad greens and a slice of sourdough toast. The combination of textures was superb and the heady aroma of truffle enhanced the earthy flavours in the croquettes. At $20 it was an expensive breakfast dish but I didn’t begrudge the price given the quality of the ingredients.
For sweet tooths you can’t go past the buttermilk hotcakes ($17). Two super-fluffy pancake rounds came bedecked with seasonal berries (though I wished they used fresh and not freeze-dried raspberries – like toffee on the teeth), vanilla and lemon mascarpone, house made maple syrup and honeycomb crumbles. It was an extremely filling dish which was all about unadulterated sugar, so it might be better shared. The dish used to offer THREE hotcakes which would be an almost impossible digestive feat.
The coffee at Hobba comes from Five Senses and the coffee station and kitchen were pumping with at least half a dozen staff early on a weekend morning. It does a brisk trade in take away too so if you want to guarantee yourself a table at this popular breakfast/lunch spot then I suggest you get in early.