A solitary hashtag symbol is the only signage to be found outside Hardware Street's newest venue, so you'd be forgiven for walking right past it. Or for peeking in with curiosity, but not bothering to break stride. When there's no one sitting out the front of Hash Specialty Coffee Roasters, it's hard to tell if it's a coffee shop, a bar or a Korean restaurant named #, but those who do wander in will find a cafe serving up its own signature blend and some really impressive food.
But first, it feels necessary to mention the Hash hot chocolate. The Hash hot chocolate isn't just served to you in the appropriate ceramic mug — no, here it consists of pouring a vat of 85% Mork hot chocolate into a cup piled maybe 20cm high with fairy floss. Obviously the fairy floss melts as you pour in the hot liquid, but the novelty is there for the taking.
On the back of this, Hash could have belted out the usual brunch staples and still been relatively popular, but with ex-Code Black chef Adam Pruckner in the kitchen, the menu veers into much more interesting territory. And it's surprisingly really impressive. Bypass the smashed avo for smashed peas — along with a pile of glazed bacon pieces, they form a comfortable bed for a few sticks of potato hash and a perfectly poached egg ($18.50). It's salty, crispy, fresh and filling without the addition of bread, and the best way to have your bacon and eggs. Plus, who can say no to potato hash?
Similarly, it's hard to give the cold shoulder to a couple of croquettes, and the leek and cheddar ones are rightfully cheesy and gooey when cracked into. They're plated up with cauliflower puree, ham hock and a very yellow turmeric poached egg ($19.50). Breakfast runs all day, and a few extra dishes on the lunch menu — including a slow roasted pork belly — come into play after 11am.
Sweet tooths will lose their minds over the rice pudding brulee: a bowl of cardamom spiced rice pudding bruleed with a thick sugary crust and topped with saffron poached pears, pistachios and a garden of edible flowers. How this can be passed off as breakfast is beyond me — it's nothing short of a giant, indulgent dessert — but I'm very glad that someone's done it. It's extremely large though, so it's best shared with a second party.
In fact, you can probably take a few friends; Hash is no hole-in-the-wall, and unlike other CBD cafes, there's more than just a handful of seats. A few communal high tables allow you to sit up at the Hardware Street windows, while more seating is tucked in behind the white-tiled coffee bar and counter. At the moment it seems easy to get a seat, but that may not last for much longer.