No trip to Melbourne is complete without catching up with my best chick mate Jacqui and her bloke Marc, who are also fellow foodies (that's why they chose to live in Melbourne, after all).
The other reason I love catching up with them (other than the scintillating conversation and great company) is that they're always on the lookout for a great new restaurant to savour.
So it was that we came to Hobba Coffee and Kitchen at 428 Malvern Road, Prahran on a Saturday morning, each of us nursing hangovers from different festivities the night before, and each of us really needing that first coffee hit of the day. You guessed it, no scintillating conversations, at least not until coffees arrived and were gulped down.
The minimalist, almost spartan warehouse setting is home to the most culinarily exquisite breakfast selection I've ever come across! Normally when you think of a cooked breakfast, you think of a down to earth selection of hearty fried stuff. But not this place. The eggs are baked for 2 hours at 60 degrees celsius, still wobbly and glistening when it's put in front of you. So perfect that poaching doesn't even come close (and I love poached eggs). The smoked ocean trout, creamy fetta and beautifully prepared and presented selection of greens that accompanied my baked egg are sublime.
When I cut into the egg, expecting it to rapidly expel liquid runny yolk, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the yolk firm, yet still soft and wet. Apparently, the 60 degree 2-hour baked egg, which you might find on a lunch or dinner menu at a serious restaurant like the Rockpool, is their breakfast specialty. Check out the video!
This is truly haute cuisine at breakfast. And the portion, recommended to me by our savvy Kiwi waitress (or are they all called "waiter" now regardless of gender?) who wisely noted our fragile state, was perfect. Enough to fill me up and make me feel human again, but not so much that my then-delicate tummy would reject the offering given to it.
We were lucky - despite its clear quality, it obviously was so new that it still hadn't caught on with the greater Melburnian breakfast demographic. So we got a table as soon as we walked in. But I suspect that like every other great Melbourne breakfast joint, this will change very soon.
So get in there before it becomes so popular that you have to queue for a breakfast table - not a good thing if you're nursing a hangover.