15-17 Bardolph Street Glen Iris, Victoria 3146
|Opening hours||Tue-Sun 7.30am-4pm|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Phone||03 9939 6141|
It's a curious fact that Burwood Station is actually in Glen Iris. Curious because, if you set out by train from Flinders Street for breakfast at Baba Sus, a newish cafe, armed only with the vague notion that it's on the ground floor of an apartment building in Glen Iris near the station, you might find yourself travelling to Glen Iris on the Glen Waverley line by train, and completing the journey to Baba Sus – on the ground floor of an apartment building near Burwood Station on the Alamein line – by cab.
At least, that's what happened to me.
Roundabout journeys to Burwood (or Glen Iris) are a theme at Baba Sus. Chef and co-owner Midori Hori was born and grew up in Osaka, Japan and came to Australia when she was 20 to study sociology at Monash University, while her partner, Daniel Liao, was born in Taiwan, lived in Thailand, and came here to study information systems.
Midori-san worked in hospitality to support herself and was inspired by the passion of chefs she worked with at venues such as the Middle Park Hotel and B'stilla; so inspired that she switched to cheffing at William Angliss, where she met Liao.
Their joint destination has turned out to be a bright corner spot with white-tiled walls and dark timber highlights and a menu with quiet echoes of their childhoods in Asia. The Not So Florentine ($16) teams a couple of poached eggs with sauteed Chinese spinach and ginger relish (as well as a world-food excursion into haloumi), while the cheeky Pig-Lette ($15) is a light omelette with sweet, tender pulled pork folded through it, laced with chilli and fish sauce in an echo of Thailand; a salad of shoots and herbs adds south-east Asian-style crunch and savour.
"All the food comes from childhood memories but we adapt to Australian culture," says Midori Hori.
The knockout breakfast has to be the Hong Kong egg waffles ($14), cooked in a Hong Kong waffle pan that produces a cluster of egg-shaped waffly balls served on sweet vanilla custard, garnished with berry compote and pistachio praline and topped by a scoop of matcha ice-cream. As Midori Hori points out, the style is more Asian than Belgian, the waffles spongy rather than crisp.
Less of an assault on the sweet tooth is corn and zucchini croquettes ($16.50). "I grew up with the creamy korokke that my mum used to make," says Midori Hori. "They are potato based in Japan but we use corn because of corn fritters."
The three baton-shaped croquettes are lovely and crisp on the outside and warm and mooshy (in a good way) inside, laid on pieces of house-cured salmon, some sweet and toothy whole soy beans and a salad that's a mix of flavours – earthy beetroot, sharp radish, bitter frisee lettuce – topped with a nice poached egg, the yolk running deliciously: the kind of breakfast that no one would mind making a roundabout journey for.