Once upon a time, approximately seven years ago, restaurants were basically the only place where chefs could strut their stuff. But there's since been a shift, which has seen a raft of chefs from fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants opting to showcase their fanciness during daylight hours within the realms of breakfast and lunch. That's certainly the case for Lasse "GD" Povlsen. Formerly of Melbourne stalwarts Three Bags Full, Cumulus Inc., Attica and Cutler & Co, the chef is now on the pans at new Hawthorn East cafe Mr & Mrs Anderson.
GD enjoys old-school cooking. He's trained in Danish-French cuisine and loves slow cooking, braising, making terrines and 'all the old techniques'. He also loves going out foraging, and all these aspects of his trade are reflected in a menu of tasty, real food that celebrates seasonality of produce, much of which is grown on the cafe's private farm in Gippsland and supplemented by ingredients from local producers. This approach is most noticeable in the vegan crispy celeriac and parsnip polenta dish ($18.50). With sautéed, fresh and pickled mushrooms, peas, celeriac puree and a mushroom and thyme broth, the dish is a collection of flavours and textures that are rich, savoury and soul-filling. A perfect nod to autumn.
For a beautiful interpretation on a classic winter morning choice, the farm-style porridge is made with soy and almond milk-soaked oats and triticale and served with apple puree, rhubarb, toasted seeds and pistachios. Avocado smash is not forgotten, despite being slightly less European. It does have its own healthy twist though, and is served with raw kale, organic quinoa, fresh radish and cucumber from their paddock and sesame ponzu dressing.
The all-day menu is aided and abetted by options like a turmeric Szechuan battered fish burger and slow-cooked saltbush lamb shoulder. Coffee is by Hawthorn roasters Axil and alcoholic beverages are apparently on the way.
The curved wall of windows, wooden tables and the blue tiling combine standard cafe style with a more rustic feel, and make the Mr & Mrs Anderson the perfect spot for a leisurely brunch or just a coffee and pastry while you're walking the dog. Hawthorn East has scant breakfast options, so if you work or live anywhere near here, this place could improve your life dramatically. If you don't, well, it's worth travelling to when you have a morning off.