I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
Published November 10th 2015
Life's too short not to eat dessert
Hugo's Cafe & Dessert Bar is like my dream come true really. A cafe…dedicated to all things dessert. Cakes. Slices. Cookies. Pastries. And donuts. Oh yes, there are donuts—divine, delicious, decadent donuts.
Located in the busy Kingsway strip slap bang in the middle of Glen Waverley's main hub of shops and restaurants, Hugo's opened in November 2014 (check out their Facebook page for regular updates on their continually evolving menu). I'm still kicking myself that it took me so long to get my sugar-seeking, pastry-loving, sweet-toothed self into the little cafe on the corner, but I'll just have to move on and rejoice in the fact that it shall now be on my regular (if ever growing) list of places to visit when I'm back traversing my eastern suburb haunts. And because they'e open every day from 10am until 9pm (and even later on Friday and Saturday nights) it's easy to get your dessert fix whenever the sugar cravings hit you.
Hugo's is owned and operated by brothers Avak and Gabriel, and the love and passion they have for their business is felt as soon as you walk in the door. But in fact, my love for the place began even before I got inside—the shop front window is lined with shelves of colourful biscuits and cookies, fat donuts and sticky European pastries. If it weren't for the steady drizzle trickling down the glass on this wet, miserable Melbourne afternoon, I'd have stayed outside gazing at the dazzling array of all things sugar and spice a little longer. But, we were here to eat, not stare, so in we went, my head already spinning with what to choose.
The engaging Gabriel was the main man the day we visited. He gave us a booming welcome, and didn't seem at all nonplussed at this newest patron with the rain-dampened hair, darting from counter to counter in a panic of indecisiveness. As well as the front window beholden with treats, there's more counters inside with even more to choose from, including rocky road slice, cannoli, cheesecakes, vanilla slices and even darling little cakes in jars.
But, as I've alluded to at the beginning, Hugo's does donuts. And their sign out the front does say that the best donuts in town are at Hugo's….so, what else was there to do but to have a donut? And these aren't your standard cinnamon donuts, or wispy little things with a hole in the middle and a dash of icing on the top. Nope, these are DONUTS, soft and doughy, with a little firmness on the outside, and filled to bursting with all sorts of deliciousness on the inside. The varieties can change from day to day, but on our visit, we had the choice of jam, custard, lemon meringue, salted caramel, peanut butter jam, and of course, Melbourne's new favourite donut, Nutella.
Let's see if they really are the best donuts in town!
The big decision now was which flavour to get. Gabriel did mention that if you buy four, you get one free—which could of course solve my problem of which one to indulge in, but I reluctantly declined the bonus offer, and chose just a custard one instead. My husband went for one of the hefty looking vanilla slices, and well, because they looked so pretty, we also chose a Monte Carlo yoyo cookie…you know, for research purposes.
Gabriel cheerfully took our orders, and then started brewing a cappuccino for the coffee drinker in our household while we took our seats. Initially we chose the two comfy armchairs by the back wall, but it was then pointed out to us that a higher table would better suit the eating of cake…and oh yes, how true! One does not want to be hunched over eating cake. The lounge chairs are for your more refined cafe dweller; those who can sip daintily on a latte, and resist the temptations in the front window. Sadly, that is not we.
So we moved to one of the glass-topped tables along the window, with the very European-looking wooden chairs, which gave us a great view of all things cake, as well as the rain now steadily coming down from grey skies outside. There's outdoor seating as well, but on a day like today, inside was definitely best. Cappuccino was made and delivered to us by Gabriel, and soon after, the fabulous cakes, looking ever so sinful on wooden boards, laced with healthy sprinklings of icing sugar over the top. Oh yes, this was the perfect way to spend a quiet, rainy weekday afternoon.
The alfresco dining would be lovely on a sunny day...but inside was best for this rainy Tuesday afternoon.
We switched and swiveled the wooden boards between us as we tested and tasted and licked icing sugar off our fingers (nope, no dainty latte drinking on this table). My custard donut was filled with a huge glob of thick, luscious, creamy yellow custard in the middle, perfectly spreading out to the edges of the dough by the last mouthful. The vanilla slice was stacked high with three layers of flaky pastry, and more delicious custard in the middle, squelching out onto the board with every slice of the knife. The Monte Carlo—originally slated as a take home for 'later', was alas, consumed as well (did I mention it looked so pretty, we just had to taste it?). Two thick biscuits sandwiched together with a layer of jam and frosty white cream, more icing sugar, and a whole lot of love.
For those of you who'd prefer something more savoury (I guess you're out there…somewhere), Hugo's has a range of Middle Eastern pastries such as vegie puffs and boreks, which would be perfect topped off with some of the baklava piled high in the window at Hugo's (because really, how could come to a place with the words 'dessert bar' in the name and not have something sweet?).
Hugo's also offer a large variety of Middle Eastern pastries to tempt those with more savoury tastebuds.
As we dusted off the remaining vestiges of icing sugar from our fingers and hands and even the bits that somehow landed in my hair, Gabriel made us an offer we couldn't refuse. Two more donuts, free of charge. They were yesterday's, so weren't as fresh as the feast of treats we'd just finished off (which are all baked fresh daily, especially for Hugo's), but Gabriel promised that after a quick 15 second zap in the microwave, they'd be as good as gold. I was completely donutted-and-caked out, but I knew that was only temporary—and how could I say no to donuts? FREE donuts? So in they were popped to a little white cake box, just waiting for the right moment to come back out in all their donut glory [and I can say that yes, when that right moment did come, the 15 second zap worked a treat on the salted caramel donut—thick-as-thick hot caramel slowly oozing out onto the plate, the dough warm and soft…thank you Gabriel].
I am now on detox. I went on a long run the day after our visit. No more donuts. I am hopelessly without willpower when it comes to cake shops, especially those that hawk such delicious donuts. So it will be some time before I head back to Hugo's. Or, maybe not. After all, life's more fun when you eat dessert, isn't it? Yes, it is. So, more donuts please. And I'll just have to run there next time.
Why? Do you need a reason to have dessert? But if you do: Hugo's has a huge range of cakes, pastries, cookies, slices, and yes, donuts, all baked fresh daily. Fantastic service, reasonable prices and late opening hours are just the icing on the cake.
When:Sunday to Thursday 10.00am - 9.00pm; Friday and Saturday 10.00am - 10.00pm.
Cost:Donuts $4.50 each (discounts for multiple purchases), yoyo cookies $3.90 each, dessert cakes from $6.00; pastries from around $4 and up. Hugo's can also prepare large cakes for special celebrations - pop in and see the friendly staff for more details