After a stint at Yu-U, chef Yoshikazu Tanaka and his wife Sachi have set up their own, more casual eatery in Hawthorn. Tana Cafe aims to bring Japanese-influenced cafe food to the wider community and, boy, is Hawthorn a luckier community for it.
The menu starts with standard fare like bircher muesli and toast options for breakfast, but the further along you go the more interesting it becomes. Try the veggie burger, filled with slices of boiled egg, a potato patty, pastel green avocado mayo, cheese and vegetable trimmings all in a crispy bun. There’s Japanese-style potato salad, tamago sandwiches, and keep an eye out for the lunch box special, which alongside plenty of other savoury treats comes with homemade miso soup.
As for beverages, be sure to order yourself a matcha latte to accompany your meal. These green tea twists on the conventional chai latte are absolute flavour bombs; we promise you won’t be able to stop at one. There are plenty of cakes to compliment a hot beverage, too. Perhaps a brownie, intriguingly made with soy powder, will tempt you?
The space is small but warm and inviting, with children’s books in both English and Japanese lining the walls and a big round communal table that invites you to exchange friendly greetings with your neighbours. This aura of friendliness is really what sets Tana Cafe apart. Once you’ve experienced the Tanakas’ hospitality, you’ll want to return again and again.