Life on Mars
842 Glenferrie Rd
Hawthorn, VIC
(03) 9078 8663

I’ve been a resident of Hawthorn for a little over a month now, and I must say I am really enjoying it. The area is nice, leafy, and spoilt for choice when it comes to good coffee. There’s Axil on Burwood Road, Liar Liar up towards Barkers road, and now there’s Life on Mars, a newish cafe busting out the Allpress blend.

Owner Sandra Powell opened the sleek Hawthorn eatery towards the end of last year, leaving famed chef Fletcher Zane (Hotel Max, Stokehouse, Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons, Icebergs and Quay) in charge of producing some nice looking dishes. Drawing on inspiration from various cuisines, many of the dishes feature free-range ingredients sourced locally, with a range of smallgoods made in-house. Currently open for breakfast and lunch, there’s also plans for a dinner service and liquor license for the coming summer.

One Saturday morning, Miss N picked me up on the way to breakfast, stepping inside my new place briefly to check it out for the first time. When we arrived at Mars (I could make a few space jokes, but I won’t) we were made to sit in the window until a table became available. We waited a little while for menus to arrive but were happy to chat.

I decided I didn’t really see anything on the menu that jumped out at me, so decided to make up my own breakfast: poached eggs with haloumi fritters, marinated feta and herb-crusted roasted tomatoes, hold the toast ($8.00+$4.00+$4.00+$4.00). It ended up being quite an expensive way of ordering, which is why I normally order off the menu. In hindsight, that’s probably what I should have done. While my eggs were nicely poached, and everything looked and tasted good, I wasn’t left feeling full. Perhaps I should have kept the toast..

Miss N, feeling a little worse for wear after a night out at Seven, went for the poached eggs with mushrooms, avocado and hollandaise on sourdough ($16.00), with a side order of fresh tomato ($4.00). It was a generous portion by comparison, and left Miss N unable to finish (perhaps a few less drinks the night before might have seen her finish it??). 😉

My overall impression of Life on Mars is that it’s not a bad little cafe. It has a nice feel to it, but fails to create it’s own identity. Instead, it follows the current formula of the modern-yet-rustic fit-out (mismatched chairs, drop-lights and a wall of pot plants: all check) accompanied by a decent but safe menu.

Bf-B said a while back that he was sick of having the same breakfast everywhere we went. I told him he should order something besides smashed avocado on toast but maybe he’s right. Maybe all these new places are all the same. Yawn.

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