Sometimes, what we originally perceive as foreign and unfamiliar, over time, becomes one of our deepest loves. When I walked into Hangry's wide open glass doors to do a profile on the cafe for the Inner West Courier, I was scared. I had no idea what this place was about, had never before had, or even heard of, half of their menu items and lastly, I was an intern being trusted with a job that needed to be done that day, that hour.
But when I walked through those doors, I was embraced by the staff, the warm terracotta interior and the smile on the customers' faces. The owners, Sam and Lorraine, soon greeted me, making it damn clear that Hangry is more than a cafe, rather being a big happy family. Such atmospheres are the best when it comes to trying something new, especially when one has the Sam and Lorraine's of this world to be their guiding angel (when it comes to choosing from a very different menu than what one is used to).
When I visited the cafe for the profile, Sam ran me through Hangry's most loved dishes - namely the pancakes, Fooul' Medammis and Eggs Taleggio - with great descriptions, tales and talk of the ingredients. I sampled a chocolate brownie, a housemade raspberry and pistachio muffin and a latte. This was more than enough to draw me back.
Nathan's mum, Yvonne, Nathan and I visited on a Sunday morning around 8am. Hangry wasn't very busy meaning we had the gorgeous waitstaff almost to ourselves.
Like my first visit, the waitstaff were friendly and warm, looking the part in their "I [heart] Hangry" t-shirts. They were quick to take our orders and extremely pleasant overall.
Nathan's mother and I both ordered the eggs taleggio with two baked eggs, Mauri taleggio cheese in a clay pot with roasted tomatoes, baby spinach and crusty bread ($15). If you're on the brink of becoming hangry (so hungry that anger starts to sneak in), I suggest you go for the three eggs for $2 more. Nathan, feeling a bit under the weather, opted for a light meal with the homemade muesli.
I must say that our meals took a while to come out. The eggs taleggio, to be honest, fell a little short of my expectations - mind you, Yvonne had just used the wait to rant about how luxurious baked eggs had been for her in the past. For me, the eggs tasted hardly different from those that had been fried in both flavour and texture. Yvonne agreed. On the other hand, the cheese, spinach and roasted tomato was a great combination, and the freshness of the produce (which Sam sources locally) was clearly evident. I must add that it's impressive that Sam ventures to farms himself to source the eggs, so that those his much-loved customers consume are the best there is.
Nathan, still feeling sick when his homemade muesli with yoghurt and strawberries, topped with a dollop of honey ($9) arrived, struggled through it. He said it was delicious but couldn't stomach much more than the yoghurt, strawberries and a couple of spoonfuls of muesli. I thank god for this because that meant that I got to eat it for lunch, and boy, was the muesli tasty, and somewhat addictive. My only wish was that Nathan had eaten less.
Hangry serves Di Gabriel coffee, which, although nice, is not one of my favourite blends. My mocha was okay but could've done with a richer chocolate flavour.
And as for the odd menu at Hangry - I must correct myself and say that it's not that unusual. That is, if you're unlike me and didn't grow up in the restrictive dining hole that is Port Macquarie. Hangry's menu is loaded with Middle Eastern influences and yet still has something for everyone - whether for breakfast, lunch or a cake and coffee.
After sampling some of what it has to offer, I can say with certainty that I will be back.
Hangry, 4/595 Darling Street, Rozelle
If you missed it, read the profile here