I wish I had my finger on the pulse. Despite having excess time to dedicate to what's new in music, restaurants, cafés and the literary world, I am still behind. Luckily, I have some clever and trendy friends who help me keep informed. I can then palm off their knowledge as my own in circumstances such as these. However, they've (I've, whatever) dropped the ball recently, missing out on some XXtra big ticket items. I'm un-cleverly referring to The xx and Jamie xx shows next month. Who cares. I'm going to Radiohead. This is my default answer to any failure until November.
Anyway, a recent success in terms of finger-on-pulsing, was the opening of Cheerio on Lennox Street in Richmond. I can't really take credit for "discovering" this little gem. I have to walk past it to get to the supermarket. Still, I managed to use my eyes and brain well last weekend and triggered that it was new. I rushed home to get my flatmates. I'm financially challenged, so in addition to their company, I wanted them to buy something that I would be able to try.
It is a tiny shop, with everything – coffee machine, money draw and the kitchen sink – right in amongst the café dwellers. The fit-out is very white and clean, it could even be described as stark. Not be me though, I liked it. Water was provided immediately, which was great as I love to be hydrated. Our coffee was quick to arrive and was naturally superb, given the resume of the owners: Wall Two 80, Seven Seeds and Batch Espresso. And it is Seven Seeds' beans that populate the dainty, blue, porcelain cups.
Leaf chai was another stand-out on the drinks menu, my non-coffee drinking flatmate nearly had kittens. Apparently at other (lesser) cafes, chai comes only in syrup form.
The menu, like the cafe is small but accomplished. I couldn't go past the Briont – a cross between brioche and croissant – with lemon curd and jam ($7). It works. I was helpfully shown and recommended jams, finally selecting Blackberry Shiraz and Apricot Cardamom. One of my pals ordered the Tomato beans with a side of mushrooms and a poached egg. It was a strong and well executed order, with the feta offsetting the sweetness of the tomato perfectly.
The lunch menu is right up my alley, with 3 delicious sounding sandwiches: garlic chicken with lemon aioli, champagne ham and cheese, and a mushroom and walnut pate with goats cheese and baby spinach ($10 each). The staff were lovely, displaying just the right amount of attention. We even got a wave from the barista on our return from the supermarket. Indeed, cheerio Cheerio, see you soon.