322 Lyttleton Terrace
Bendigo, VIC 3550
P: (03) 5444 4448
T’hooft is a kitschy little café in Bendigo with a big reputation. The retro barrista caravan and mismatched ’50s dining furniture will score you a mountain of hipster points just for looking at it sideways. Seriously – you don’t even need to step in the front door!
There has been some renovations there over the past 6-12 months. As wonderful as the caravan looks, it’s a little imposing and I miss being able to ogle a cabinet full of sweets and cold Belgian beers that believe it or not, you can order with breakfast! In fact, they used to offer you a 10% discount if you had beer with your breakfast; they say this is to encourage the Belgian way of life! (I’m not sure if this is still the case.) Now these items stand sadly in a small and overlooked refrigerator.
One of the best (and worst) things about T’hooft, is that you can always count on it to be consistent. The meals are consistently outstanding and the staff tend to be long term employees, but the service is consistently very slow – even after extending their kitchen area. The wait time for your drinks order to be taken and delivered is longer than it should be, so be warned: don’t fluff about when deciding on what meals to order, or you’ll be there all day.
The breakfast menu only has one vegan dish on it (called “vegan is not a dirty word”!), but it’s a giant, impressive hangover-style meal that will leave you feeling like you need to be ROLLED out the door. It contains a thick slice of toasted bread, a hash brown, grilled tomaoes, red onion, red capsicum and mushrooms, wilted spinach, a quarter of an avocado and the most amazing baked beans I’ve ever had in my life. Admittedly, I’ve never had the trashy baked beans in a can (the smell of them makes me want to hurl) so I was pretty apprehensive the first time I ordered this… But I assure you, I wasn’t let down. These are made in a tomato based sauce with wholegrain mustard and herbs; they’re SUPERB.
The remainder of the all day breakfast menu is an assortment of bacon, eggs and sausages done every which way with different sides. For anyone who isn’t vegan, I’ve heard the sausages are excellent and home made (boasting 80% meat) and the hollandaise sauce is divine. There’s also a half page menu of waffles (both sweet and savoury options, but disappointingly none of them are vegan) and a very basic lunch menu of sandwiches/focaccias that you can order with gluten free bread. Only one of those is vegan.
There used to be a few salads on the menu – one of them was an excellent eggplant and rocket based one with za’atar, but the salads have dwindled to one lonely little non-vegan caesar salad. I almost wonder why they’ve bothered with it to be honest. The coffee is nice (there’s four blends you can choose from) but only barely worth the wait and the chai powder they use is not vegan, but all of this is made up for with four fresh juice options and a banana/coconut milk smoothie on the drinks list. Seven dollars is a bit steep for a fresh juice, but I’m willing to pay it.
T’hooft is almost always bustling and crowded, but it’s a comfortable place for a big social brunch. I’d recommend booking a table/calling in advance if there’s more than two of you heading there.