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Hello Sailor Cafe

Home > Melbourne > Breakfast | Brunch | Cafes | Coffee
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published July 13th 2014
Still Finding its Sea Legs
Hello Sailor is a new cafe in Auburn Village - the strip shopping area in Auburn Road, Hawthorn East, that stretches between the Geebung Polo Club (Victoria Road) and Burwood Road. It's an interesting shopping precinct, with a diversity of stores, and five cafes in the space of just 100 metres or so. This means that there is plenty of competition for the hospitality dollar, and a cafe needs to be on its game to survive in the environment.

Based on my experience with Hello Sailor, I'm sorry to say I think it might struggle.

In May this year, shortly after the cafe first opened, I visited for a late lunch. I found it difficult to get a handle on the place. The staff seemed tense, I didn't enjoy the atmosphere of the place, and the menu didn't greatly appeal to me. I put it down to opening weeks tensions and decided not to review it at that time. I did however like the decor, and the openness and light of the place. The decor of the place suggests maritime influences, without being kitschy.

Hello Sailor Cafe
Clean lines with nautical influences

I recently returned, again with the aim of having a late lunch (it was around 2.30pm when I arrived). I sat at a table, and apparently became invisible... because I didn't even get acknowledged when the waiter came and cleared the table next to mine. Now, this is not a huge cafe, and it was not packed, so I'd expect to have been given priority over table clearing.

I sat there feeling miffed and wondering if I should leave. I reminded myself I was there to do a review, and with that, stood up, walked the few steps to the counter, and finally got noticed. 'Could I maybe have a menu, please?', I muttered (through slightly gritted teeth). I was handed a menu, water was brought to my table, and I at last started to feel like a customer.

I'm still not sure about the menu. It's heavily breakfast oriented, with just four lunch dishes:

- winter salad with pear, walnut, cranberries and blue cheese ($17)

- roasted vegetable and ricotta crepe with truss tomato and caper sauce ($17)

- slow cooked lamb shoulder with salsa verde and verjuice in brioche ($17.50)

- pork and fennel meatball soup with sourdough ($18).

It was a wet, wintry day, and too cold I felt for a salad (although the winter salad sounds like a good combination), and, for various reasons, the other items did not appeal.

I opted instead for a savoury muffin and a coffee. The muffin was delicious: roast capsicum, feta and black pepper. It was beautifully fresh and the flavour combination worked well. I loved the hit of black pepper.

The muffin was delicious

So my Hello Sailor encounter cost me under $10 and left me (again) with mixed feelings about the place.

Looking towards the back of the cafe, where there's a large share table

One thing I should explain is how Hello Sailor got its name. The owner is an ex navy man, Wade Nicholson-Doyle, who left the navy after a decade of service in April this year. The name is a throwback to his recent career.

Hello Sailor is open 7 days: from 7am - 4pm Monday to Friday and 8am - 4pm Saturday and Sunday.
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Why? Great muffins, nicely appointed cafe.
When: Mon - Fri: 07:00 - 16:00 Sat - Sun: 08:00 - 16:00
Phone: (03) 9813 5560
Where: 89 Auburn Road, Hawthorn East
Cost: Lunch dishes range from $17 to $18
Your Comment
The menu sounds nice, but if the customer service is poor then that you can't enjoy your meal in the same way.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12328) 1744 days ago
Bummer about the service. I'd still go just for that crepe though.
by Mallory (score: 2|474) 1739 days ago
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