Every couple of weeks, a new cafe will open up and provide us with something exciting and delicious. Cafes trending in Melbourne at the moment include Touchwood, Barry and Hawthorn Common, which have all opened up in the last 6 months and have been extremely successful.
One suburb that lacks a healthy amount of good coffee and brilliant food is Balwyn. But fear not Balwyn-ites, things are changing. Thanks to the recent addition of Mr. Hendricks Cafe on Whitehorse Road, we no longer have to bombard Snow Pony or travel 15 minutes to get a decent coffee.
The day that I went was bright, warm and couldn’t have been nicer. It was the perfect spot to meet a friend for a lunch and chat for a few hours sitting out on the 3 levelled sun deck.
Overall, the cafe has a great feel to it. Wooden tables and floors compliment the greenery and black finishes. The staff are friendly and attentive – we had no trouble waiting to order a second round of coffees.
The cafe is owned by three brothers, all of which have a hands-on part in the cafe. Two of them are chefs in the kitchen, and the third is charge of front of house. The cafe is 5 weeks young and was named after their dog, an English Staffy called Hendrick. These boys are not only talented on the food side of things, but the general layout and design of the cafe is beautiful as well. My favourite parts of the cafe include the lamps in the front room, the herbs growing in the gardens and matte black La Marzocco.
The coffee served is Padre Coffee, a smooth blend and not very bitter. I actually prefer this blend, it’s easy to drink and the coffees are consistent, even after having two different baristas. I’m really excited to have good coffee only a few minutes away from me now 🙂
The breakfast menu is intriguing, you have your usual suspects, but with a little twist. The porridge is a Coconut Rice Porridge with strawberry and rhubarb compote ($12.50) and the French toast is brioche with poached vanilla pears, caramel sauce and double cream ($14.50). The menu also contains French Style Crepes, Slow Cooked Salmon and of course a Smashed Avocado. Lunch includes a variety of salads, burgers and baguettes (which are displayed in the cabinet at the front).
I went for my favourite dish of Avocado on toast with feta, dried tomato, coriander and lime and I added a poached egg ($17.50). The size was generous and the egg was poached nicely whilst the avocado was fresh, vibrant and had a nice texture. The feta wasn’t over powering and the herbs were pleasantly noticeable.. not lost in the dish. I didn’t have to add salt and even though there was lime in there, I really wanted some more! But perhaps that’s just me because I squeeze half a lemon on my avocado at home! Next time, if I order it again, perhaps I’ll ask for extra lemon or lime on the side 🙂
Also arriving at our table was the Goat’s cheese salad with beetroot, caramelisedwalnuts, leaves, croutons and a honey mustard vinaigrette ($15.50). My friend very kindly let me try a few different elements and from what I tasted I can tell you that the goat’s cheese was deliciously creamy and the vinaigrette was very well balanced. I liked the decision of serving one large crouton covered in the goat’s cheese – it’s a point of difference and I think it not only looked great, but worked well too. BUT! The BEST part, was the walnuts! They definitely would be a stand out.. perfectly sweet but still remained their crunch and nutty flavour. I know my friend was very impressed by the food and the cafe in general 🙂
Mr. Hendricks is open Tuesday – Sunday and closed on Mondays. They take reservations and also have a ‘green room’ that seats up to 10 people and can be booked if you would like a bit more of a private dining experience.
I can’t wait to bring so many different people here and do long walks on the weekend around the neighbourhoods from my house to the cafe. It’s a great addition to Balwyn and it has come at a time when we really needed it!