MELBOURNE | Santoni Hawthorn has been offering traditional Italian food (with a focus on pizza) since 2007 in the restaurant precinct on Glenferrie Road. Conveniently located just a short walk from Glenferrie train station, the first thing that you notice when approaching Santoni is its striking, industrial exterior. We were recently invited to try their brand new breakfast menu and were very interested to see what they would have on offer.
The ground floor dining area is quite the contrast to the outside, with brick, warm lighting and plant life combining to create a homely dining atmosphere.
The first floor dining level offers a similar feel, with the simple wood fittings combining well with the wooden floor and the large floor to ceiling window providing lots of natural light and also a view down Burwood Road.
Speaking of views, upon arriving at the rooftop, which is where breakfast was being served on this occasion, we were greeted by a very funky deck which was a mix of bright colours, stone and plants (similar to the ground floor) as well as extensive umbrella cover and column heaters which are a very sensible idea given Melbourne’s variable weather! The roof deck is walled off by glass barriers allowing an amazing all around view of the area.
The fittings on the rooftop are a variation from the inside, largely a practical consideration given exposure to the elements, with wooden tables and chairs replaced by more weather-resistant materials and a lighter colour scheme more consistent with enjoying one’s meal in the sun as opposed to sitting indoors.
There also a fully stocked bar on the roof (the space is also used for lunch and dinner service) offering the full range of beer, wine and cocktails. Despite it being well prior to noon on this occasion I opened with a Bloody Mary which was excellent and helped to take the edge off what was a relatively big hangover.
Of course normal breakfast items are also on offer – we availed ourselves of both the cold brew coffee and the excellent croissants which were made available to anyone who needed something to tide themselves over before the main event.
The breakfast menu at Santoni is a bit of a mix of Melbourne-style breakfast/brunch dishes including french toast, muesli, baked eggs and the ever-present smashed avocado, although each were done with their own spin and the smashed avo in particular was served with pastry wrapped king prawns and looked amazing. There are also a range of non-standard, and in most cases heavier, dishes including pork belly, a wagyu bresaola with mash and poached eggs and a macaroon with liver parfait and a scotch egg. We didn’t pay on this occasion but have included prices for your reference.
Crumbed Green Tomatoes ($21.00)
We started our meal with the crumbed green tomatoes, a take on a classic dish from the American South, which were served with anchovies, buffalo mozzarella, pine nuts, olive pesto and a fried egg. Despite the ingredient list this dish was surprisingly light with the coating on the tomatoes not being too dense, and the flavours of the other ingredients combining and complementing each other well – the mozzarella added a bit of density to the dish but had a nice subtle flavour, and the anchovies and olive pesto helped to cut through the fried items. A dish we would certainly go back for.
Braised Lamb Shank With Mac & Cheese ($21.00)
Perhaps it is my obsession with American food but I found it impossible to go past a dish which included mac & cheese, despite my brain telling me that it was definitely too early to have a lamb shank. In the end both my heart and my brain were correct, on the one hand the lamb shank had excellent flavour and fell off the bone as it should and the mac and cheese was done with sweet corn and a less punchy cheese which I quite liked as it had the mac and cheese texture and high level flavours without being too rich. On the other hand I did find that this dish was a bit too heavy for breakfast at 9:30am – it would be perfect at brunch or lunch time.
Overall Santoni combines an amazing rooftop space with great food and an excellent atmosphere to create a dining experience that we will be sure to revisit again (perhaps to try their dinner menu which also looked interesting). Our only suggestion would be to note that there were a number of other dishes that looked like they would be a bit heavy for breakfast so perhaps this could be addressed by splitting the menu into sections to inform diners which dishes are more “lunch-like”
634 Glenferrie Road
Telephone: (03) 9819 3000
Mon – Sun: 11:00am to 11:00pm (Breakfast menu available until 2:00pm)