Slightly off the beaten path but well worth finding your way to is Hamlet, a café making a difference while serving up some exciting and original fare.
At first glance a contemporary café, Hamlet is also a not for profit social enterprise with the aim of giving skills and work experience to those that face barriers to employment. Currently partnering with the Migrant Resource Centre and Workskills Inc they provide the participants with the practical training needed to progress to employment in the hospitality sector.
Chef and co-founder Emily Briffa previously worked at another social enterprise, the excellent Kinfolk in Melbourne, before being lured to Tasmania to work at Franklin with David Moyle 2 and a half years ago. She has created a menu with a focus on local ingredients and nourishing food.
The lunch menu is notable in that so much room is left open to reflect the changing seasons and what is available to the kitchen. Only two items can be found daily, the Buddha Bowl and Miso Eggplant, with the rest advertised on the specials board and making the most of what is in its prime. Emily mentioned that the community had already started giving support with amazing tomatoes and figs delivered and featuring prominently on the menu and she’s excited about working further with wakame and saltbush. A separate but equally exciting menu is available for breakfast earlier in the day.
There’s a display cabinet full of fresh rolls and the like for those after a quick meal or something to take back to work. Great bread and quality ingredients make for a delicious lunch. Like everything else here it’s all so very affordable.
There is plenty on offer for vegetarian and vegan diners as well and they’ve found a lot of very appreciative customers because of this. They also stock raw vegan treats from Melbourne based Citizen Cacao that are already proving popular.
For those with little ones they have what has to be one of the most extensive and interesting childrens menus I’ve seen in a café and ample room for prams and the like.
Coffee was excellent, service outstanding and my lunch delightful.
The ham was the star of this plate being meaty and very well seasoned, an impeccable example of the craft, but the rest of the plate succeeded in lifting it even further. The figs from a local tree refreshing in their sweetness, the creamy mustard adding depth, the currants offering tartness and texture and excellent bread bringing it all together. I’m very keen to go back and check more of the menu especially knowing there’ll always be new dishes to try.
Hamlet is perhaps a bit tricky to find for those new to the area. It’s situated at the end of Collins St where it meets Molle St, follow the path towards the Rivulet Track through a carpark and it’s on the left. Street address in 40 Molle St. Well worth the effort to find though.
You can find a lot more about Hamlet including chances to volunteer in order to help others on their website here.