As bright and perky as the name suggests, Sonny Ray cafe is a fabulous spot for elevated breakfast dishes and some of the most tempting toasties we’ve devoured in a while.
Location: 328 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn, VIC 3122 Ph: (03) 9818 2375
What a find.
Eatability has driven past Sonny Ray a few times and never thought of stopping and checking it (her?) out before. More fool us. Having finally pulled over and ambled in, we wished we’d been here sooner.
The All Day Breakfast game is strong, the Toasties – epic, and then there’s a section of ‘More’. All this in a light-filled set of rooms, complete with a delightful courtyard out the back. Really. What took us so long?
Sat on a corner amongst an affluent selection of shops, Sonny Ray stands out with its grey and taupe paint-work and mint green outdoor chairs.
Venture inside and the cafe is a place of 2 parts. The initial dining room is uncluttered with white walls and wooden furniture taking up most of the space. Towards the rear, there’s a service counter with a coffee machine (of course) and display cabinet. Continue through to the back, and there’s another area to sit, sip a coffee and peruse the menu in peace.
Beyond that, there’s also an attractive courtyard, strung with pot plants. When we visited, we were tempted by its calm ambience, but it was a rather nippy Melbourne day, so we stayed inside.
The menu is full of familiar sounding dishes given a highly original tweak.
There’s Brioche French Toast ($21) with Blueberry Yoghurt, Strawberries, Macerated Berries and Orange. So far, so predictable. But then it comes with Coffee Custard & Crushed Pistachios. Similarly, the Smokey Pulled Beef Benedict ($23) goes deliciously rogue. The regular Poached Eggs are joined by Pickled Cabbage, Fried Shallots & a Chilli Tom Yum Hollandaise, all on a Potato Hash.
Having already had breakfast some time earlier when we meet, my dining companion and I decide on something from the Grilled Toasties section.
I head to Japan via the Fried Chicken Katsu Sandos ($16.5). The Chicken is juicy, flavoursome and definitely not oily. Paired with Cabbage, Pickled Onion, Cheese and Chilli Tonkatsu Sauce, there’s plenty of textural crunch against the soft, fluffy interior of the toasted Milk Bread.
In contrast, my friend sways vegetarian with the Mushroom & Haloumi Cheese Toastie ($14). Her sandwich smells truly enticing when it hits the table, the Mushies and Haloumi heightened by an Avocado Hummus, Chilli Mayo & Spinach.
Whilst we’re both very happy with our choices, I find myself wishing I were hungrier when I see the Grilled Sriracha Salmon & Brown Rice Poke Bowl ($25) arrive for the lady to my left. In addition to the Salmon & Rice, there’s Pickled Cabbage, Avocado, Seaweed Salad, Bonito Flakes, and Edamame, along with a Roasted Sesame Seed Mayo and an intriguing sounding Pineapple Kimchi.
I make a mental note to return to Sonny Ray sooner than rather later to give it a try.
If dishes like the one above which balances Japanese and Korean influences appeals to you, see our piece on the Best Asian Fusion Restaurants in Melbourne
Good Coffee and Mork Hot Choc ($4.8) is always a great start. From there the couple of Smoothies and Milkshakes read well.
For Kombucha fans, Sonny Ray stocks Two Boys Brew Kombucha ($6) in Ginger & Lemon Myrtle or Hibiscus & Chamomile.
Finally, the cafe has an alcohol licence as they also find a tiny range of wines and a smattering of Cocktails on the Drinks List.
Read all about the Best Coffee Shops in Melbourne here
Sonny Ray is a fantastic place to grab either an interesting breakfast or an intriguing lunch option.
The space is light, the vibe is friendly and the service is really good.
And Eatability will be back soon to give that Salmon Poke Bowl a whirl.