I have to let you in on a little (seriously, it’s tiny) secret – I don’t like berries. The only ones I’m down with are strawberries, and I have a vague memory of someone once telling me they’re not actual berries (although that may have been that bananas are berries?). But I knew that when I started judging pancakes I’d have to face my inner berry demons.
I love Hawthorn. It is home to my favourite of all the Readings stores (‘Hawthorn’), Haigh’s, terrace houses, below average footballers, Cheers and Scotch College. I only wish I was beautiful enough to be married to someone who could afford to live there. I would be all up in that cafe lifestyle like nobody’s business with my six blonde children and my nanny and my Bugaboo pram and why doesn’t he love me anymore?
Liar Liar is a popular place on the internet. And like all things that are popular on the internet, it was hard to find when I went out into the real world in search of it. There’s no signage, just the words “Liar Liar” on the door in little red letters. It’s like some kind of magnificent brothel cum food servery. Superficially, the place has that ‘there used to be an old house here but someone knocked it down and built these apartments with shops under them’ look about it on the outside, but the interior has been beautifully furnished and is cosy, clean and inviting.
I was pleased to see that Liar Liar had hired a Robin Tunney lookalike, because I really enjoyed The Craft. She and I had a good laugh about the fact that she didn’t have strong enough muscles to open my Tiro bottle, and I promised her I would tell everyone (I think she thought I was joking, but here we are). She was light on her feet and the service was seriously excellent. We all became firm friends.
I only had to read the menu for saliva to begin pouring out of my eye sockets. The pancake option here is Ricotta hotcakes (definitely on trend in Melbourne) with berry coulis, almond cream and maple syrup. Almond cream! Needless to say, I was pleased about that, even with the coulis. As I mentioned, I don’t love berries, and berry coulis frightens me a little as it has a tendency to just.be.everywhere. Pancakes are absorbent little bastards and they drink in the berry juice and suddenly instead of being ricotta hotcakes, they are berry hotcakes alla ricotta. See how I know very basic Italian? Let’s get married.
But in this instance, they were delicious. And beautiful. So beautiful that the woman sitting opposite me thought I was taking photos of her and her perfect life. But I wasn’t. I just couldn’t get enough of the way these looked.
I cannot fault the presentation of my pancakes, nor of any of the other meals I saw at other tables. Proper care had been taken in assembling these dishes, and it was a welcome change from some of the ‘slap it and see’ I’ve experienced of late.
I don’t know whose idea it was to start serving cold pancakes for breakfast, but I’m grateful that these guys missed the memo. When I shifted the top layer to check out the treasure underneath, a cloud of magnificent steam rose toward the ceiling. My pancakes, god love them, were boiling hot.
They were also delicious. The almond cream was everything I imagined and more, adding a nutty flavour and interesting texture to the dish. The berries offset it nicely, and the ricotta hotcakes themselves were thick but still light. A masterpiece.
The man who took my money later told me the secret to Liar Liar’s molten pancakes. “We put them in the oven after we fry them!” he said, and he was clearly pleased about it. I was in a wonderful food coma at the time, but I am almost certain I managed to nod appreciatively.
The pancakes were $16.50, which is not cheap but still excellent value.
I love you, Liar Liar.