Auburn Road doesn't immediately register when one thinks of Hawthorn, perhaps losing out to the more obvious Glenferrie Road. But Auburn Road is where The Counter is situated, and it appears to have cemented its place as the local go-to café and weekend brunch hangout.
Situated across the street from Auburn train station, it is a small space with a decent range of appetizing food. A tempting packed window display makes you want to press your face up against the glass to get a good look at the treats on show.
Inside the café, the space is rather narrow and confined around the tables, and walking sideways may be best to dodge people, passing pups, plates and pastries.
The counter at The Counter is the main attraction. A tempting array of foods includes freshly baked savoury and sweet items, soups, deli items, old fashioned goodies like ginger nut biscuits, slices, jams and other condiments. Choices also include vegetarian and gluten free options.
We were there for brunch and had the muesli ($12.5) and Shakshouka Moroccan baked eggs ($17) along with some teas and juices.The eggs were delightfully flavoursome, and I recommend them if you like spiced foods. If you're into artful or attractively arranged food, you'll like this place, and my friend and I both agree the meals are both tasty and filling.
There is a pleasant little courtyard at the back with green plants jostling for space among the tables. This area gets quite a bit of sun if you're there in the morning, and the staff can pull down the blinds lower to block out excessive sunlight. There are also shawls draped over the chairs to combat the morning chill and for cool days.
The table menu only shows a portion of food and drinks available for purchase. For other options, wander over to the countertop to mull over choice A over B, or whether to pick A and B. You can also buy a number of enticing goodies to take home for later. The cost of a meal is around what you would expect to pay in most cafes focusing on breakfasts/brunch , though I thought some of the take home foods did seem pricey.