There is no denying that Melbourne is the foodie capital of Australia with hundreds of amazing cafes, restaurants and bars in the CBD and surrounding suburbs.
However, I feel like it's the outer suburbs that seem to be forgotten about and many of us who live in those suburbs or nearby are desperately trying to find a good cafe for a weekend brunch.
Sugar Buns Cafe is located on the South East of Melbourne in the Hampton Park Shopping Centre and from the outside you might not realise what a real gem this place is until you look closer and see how busy it is. The cafe is situated at the entrance of the shopping centre so luckily boasts lots of windows that really creates a bright and lively ambience as well as the soft white and grey colour pallet.
We entered the cafe on a cloudy Wednesday and even on weekdays this place is full of people. We were greeted nicely by staff and seated straight away. The cafe is quite a small space but they have made good use of it with plenty of tables and a lot of outdoor space for the warmer days on offer.
Before heading to a cafe, I always like to check out the reviews and Sugar Buns Cafe main let downs were on service and wait time so I was keen to see how our experience would be as every one has a different one.
One thing that I always find frustrating is when water is not delivered to the table and unfortunately Sugar Buns did not do this as well. Even when asked for water, the waitress forgot and we had to ask for a second time. This should be mandatory for any service at a cafe or restaurant and it is actually surprising when it does happen without asking.
We were seated by a window, which is always the best seat in the house and were desperate to get stuck in to the menu. Unfortunately we were not directed to the special board on the wall so when I saw it later I was disappointed I had missed out on one of their great specials for the day.
Sugar Buns has an awesome brunch menu with plenty of great options without overdoing it that you don't get stuck with too many choices. In fact all of the options looked so great that I will have to go back and try every one of them. Also noted were the prices that were very reasonable and actually lower than most, and we all know how important an affordable smashed avo is.
On this occasion though we opted for the Smashed Avo Rosti ($17) and the Our Benedict ($16) and as we watched the range of freak shakes being dropped to the tables surrounding us we could not miss out so we opted for the Chocoholic ($16).
Our food was served really promptly, which was well received by our hungry stomachs. When the plates were dropped in front of us, the presentation of the dishes almost had us jaw-dropping. They looked superb and the colours were outstanding. Quite often when the presentation is exceptional, the food doesn't quite live up to standard but in this case it tasted just as good as it looked and everything worked perfectly together.
The Smashed Avo Rosti came with a compressed potato rosti (similar to a hash brown), smashed avocado, beetroot hummus, two poached eggs, goats cheese, dukkah and seeds. There were also pretty little twirls of cucumber, and rounds of radish that added a wonderful freshness to the dish whilst the seeds and dukkah added great texture. Most importantly the eggs were poached perfectly on both dishes. The serving size was just what you would want for brunch as it will fill you up for the day and not one thing on the dish could be faulted. Exceptional.
The Our Benedict was again presented beautifully and what I loved was that both these dishes, although very popular options at most cafes, looked totally different to any we had seen before. The benedict was again served on the rosti with bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise and a brioche crumb. It also had a slice of sourdough toast on the bottom although probably not needed as the rest of the dish was plenty to satisfy
Not to be outdone by the wonderful food was the Chocoholic freak shake. These have become increasingly popular in cafes across Melbourne but it does take some finesse to do a really good one. We mistakenly ordered the mega shake when we should have gone for a mini version because you have to be pretty game to do brunch and one of these bad boys as well. However, it was perfect for sharing and a sweet (pun intended) way to finish off a great meal. We loved the presentation and the chocolate ice cream was nice and refreshing and the milkshake itself was delish! The others look fantastic too so we will definitely be back to try (a smaller) version of them all!
Overall our experience at Sugar Buns Cafe was a memorable one and made us excited for our return to try out the many other great options on the menu. Aside from the menu there was also an outstanding variety of gourmet pies in the cabinet for the perfect takeaway lunch. We were seated promptly and the service was good apart from having to ask for water and no mention of the specials. I feel if that was lifted up a notch this place would be one of the top cafes in Melbourne as the food was exceptional in presentation, taste and affordability.
The South East of Melbourne never looked so good. See you again soon Sugar Buns.
What: Sugar Buns Cafe
Where: Hampton Park Shopping Centre
When: Mon-Sat 7am until 5pm, Sun 8am-5pm.
Price: Average $14-$18