Sourdough starters reign at the latest outlet of this bakery cafe where the dishes are gluten-centric and carbs are king
Rustica Canteen comes to Hawthorn.
MELBOURNE’S leafy east is the latest to enjoy the carb-tastic delights of the Rustica Canteen empire.
Opened in June, the Hawthorn outlet is the third member of the sourdough chain that takes in cafes in Richmond and the CBD, plus the Fitzroy bakery original.
While this 55-seater is a replica of the winning formula with top-notch loaves, sandwiches, salads and those famous cronuts, it’s no cookie-cutter bakery. Pastel tiles, marble surfaces, custom-made velvet bench seats and lush greenery give this outpost a luxe, local kick – bright and on-trend, without trying too hard.
Winter warmers unique to these digs include the baba ghanoush dish. A punchy version of the smoky spread is applied generously to the plate and loaded with soy and linseed sourdough, two poached eggs, roasted tomato and two glorious batons of grilled haloumi for a health-giving all-day breakfast.
And then there’s the slow-roasted lamb shoulder, warm fork-tender morsels piled into a sourdough baguette with red onion and iceberg lettuce for crunch and a tart cumin yoghurt for an acid kick. Served on an old-school enamel plate (a Rustica signature) with a side of potato salad, this is another standout offering with which to face the day.
The salads are light and lovely (the grilled chicken with pinto beans, corn, jalapenos and coriander is a Mexlover’s fave), while the Insta-pretty vanilla yoghurt panna cotta is beautifully wobbly amid granola, fruit and curls of coconut.
With beans from Rumble Coffee Roasters in the grinders, Rustica really is a tour de force among Melbourne’s bakery-cafes, seducing the suburbs one sourdough slice at a time.