Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published April 6th 2013
When it comes to going out for breakfast, the residents of Richmond are spoilt for choice. Along Swan, Bridge and Church there is a pleasingly wide array of good cafes. However, be prepared to queue, as the best places have a no bookings policy.
Among the best is the new kid on the block Top Paddock. As the current hot ticket in town, Paddock boasts the longest queues (well, more of a well organised crowd). It is, however, definitely worth the wait. The large and breezy eatery is populated with friendly, casual staff serving up good coffee and an interesting selection of breakfast dishes with an unusually high quotient of seafood options. The swordfish is a delight for the eye and tastebuds and the white anchovies, jamon serrano, eggs and manchego cheese is a trip to heaven via Spain. The daily specials may include such outrageously good dishes as pulled angus beef with cabbage and tortilla, and the 'sexy ham and eggs' with pork loins.
Other Church St cafes have wisely gone for the current trend of lighter, less expensive meals. The Fair Food Store at the northern end of Church serves such tasty morsels as hash bacon with poached egg, peas and mint. Everything is less than $20, a shrewd move in these economic times.
Also on Church, The Old Barber Shop (situated where Barber of Seville used to reside) has a menu similarly studded with simple, inexpensive staples (and a counter full of scrumptious cakes). Sister cafe Torch on Swan St offers more substantial breakfast options.
Also on Swan, Dimitri's Feast is another one that requires queueing, but once you've eaten you'll know why. Fans of baklava and french toast will fall off their chairs in delight when they discover you can experience them both in the same dish!
Among all the flash new kids on the block, reliable BookTalk holds its head high. Set back from the book store, the cafe serves good old-fashioned breakfast favourites in a relaxed atmosphere. You can read the paper in peace and feel like you've been transported to a country town.
Also an institution, but on a more upmarket scale, is Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder. Their imaginative menu includes an impressive array of cereals and their buttermilk pancakes are justly famous.
Three One 2 One
Further east on Bridge Rd, the alphabetically challenged Gypsey and Musquito has some equally interesting variations on breakfast dishes, and their blue tongue lizard drink really hits the spot on a warm day. Just a few doors down, Three One 2 One (formally Sparks) continues to churn out old favourites with cheer and charm.
A shopping centre probably isn't the first place you'd think of to get a great breakfast, but inside Victoria Gardens is a culinary oasis in Plough to Platter. They serve great food and great coffee and it's all organic.
In my opinion though, the king of all Richmond breakfast destinations is Friends of Mine. It offers consistently excellent food and coffee in a warm and buzzy vibe. Although everything I've eaten there has been great, from the ham terrine eggs benedict to the smoked salmon, its hard to choose anything other than the Hungover. It has everything: crispy bacon, smashed avocado, spicy tomato relish, delicately poached eggs, and the most orgiastic cheesy toast. To say it hits the spot is an understatement.
For the sake of relative brevity, I haven't mentioned any of the excellent Abbotsford cafes here, I've stuck strictly to 3121. There are plenty of other Richmond options, and I've tried most of them, so if I've made any glaring omissions, its because I'm not a fan.
117 on Swan St went through a bad patch but the last few times I've been there, the food and coffee have been really good!
Also Pillar of Salt on church does really good food, and its up there with the best coffee I've had.Service is always fantastic.
Newly open El Atino & Co. Is a must try and quickly becoming a favorite amongst the locals. They serve an amazing granola, avo eggs, dulce de leche french toast, a big breakkie with latin flavours and of course some tacos. Their vegan tacos are the best in town and they have a great vegeterian offer