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Published November 22nd 2020
Riche is putting Bridge Road back on the culinary trail
Fresh Off The Boat Pan-fried barramundi, Asian greens, shiitake mushrooms, and spring onion served with shoyu ginger sauce
When I lived in Richmond in the 1990s, Bridge Road was very much the place to be. Lots of great outlet shopping and vibrant businesses.
A lot of those clothes shops moved out to the suburban outlet shopping malls that now form a ring around Melbourne.
Leave No Bao Behind Grilled spiced chicken, pineapple, pickled carrot and daikon, coriander, cucumber, fried shallots, kewpie mayo, and chilli jam serve with Granny Smith apple salad Riche Fine Food & Speciality Coffee - Richmond
But Richmond's Bridge Road is on the move again. Hooray! So watch those empty spaces for some serious up and coming gems.
An early move in the totally right direction is the opening of Riche - a creative, Asian-inspired eatery set to become Melbourne's next destination cafe. It will not only be perfect for locals but also all those sports fans meeting up for brunch or a meal before a big game. With loads of great parking, you could catch the tram or even walk to major sports venues from here.
Hulk Smash Smashed avocado with truffle spread, cherry tomatoes, fetta, candied beetroot, pickled radish, quinoa & dukkah chips, snow pea salad, poached egg on multigrain toast Riche Fine Food & Speciality Coffee - Richmond
The name says it all. Riche.Co-owners Alger Liu said: "During lockdown the local Richmond community was incredibly supportive and the rebranding is in part a tribute to them. Riche being short for Richmond."
But the name also references the richness that this restaurant is bringing to Melbourne's food and beverage culture. With images of some of the sensational dishes accompanying this story.
Previously known as OTTO Fine Food and Coffee, co-owners Alger Liu and Allen Goh are well-known figures in the Melbourne hospitality scene, having worked at the likes of The Guilty Moose. Like many, they saw COVID-19 days off as an opportunity to rethink their position and branding.
The resultant Riche is a trendier, more elevated dining experience that still retains at its core, the team's original philosophy of bringing the best in food, coffee and service. And having just been there today. I must say the service was exemplary.
Such a great menu. Riche still serves popular brunch dishes such as chilli scramble; corn and zucchini fritters with pickled carrot, beetroot hummus, tabbouleh salad, fried egg; porridge with caramelised banana, coconut milk, ginger crumb, strawberry and kiwi; and exotic mushrooms with egg custard, and many more.
But there are many new dishes with memorable names such as the Hulk Smash, Fritters Get The Jitters, Fresh off the Boat, and the all-time winner -- Leave No Bao Behind
I opted for the Crying Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Normally it comes with a medium-rare sliced Porterhouse but because I was asked for my preference, I had my meat well done. It came with a herb garden of green, including fresh coriander, basil and mint plus cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and radicchio, plus glass noodles, toasted cashews, fried shallots, and nuoc cham dressing.
I can way recommend this combo. The colours were amazing. The bright green of the herbs, the purplish-red of the radicchio, the golden tones of perfectly toasted cashews. And what balancing of textures. The slipperiness of the rice noodles juxtaposed by the crunch of fried shallots and the charm of the nuoc cham dressing, which is slightly sweet but with a kick.
This is a good cafe for the health-conscious with seasonal salads and drinks, including organic watermelon and lime or cucumber melon and mint Kombucha. Riche also serves some of the best smoothies in town such as the detox green smoothie with orange, apple, banana, spinach, and coconut water.
If you are late for work, grab a Morning Glory smoothie as it has granola, banana, natural yoghurt, honey, coconut water, and coconut milk. The perfect breakfast on the run.
Coffee remains an integral part of Riche. The team continues its nine-year partnership with Padre Coffee. And what a glorious union it is. As well as rotating single origin and filter blends, Daddy's Girl is the house blend - premium Colombian, Indian and Ethiopian beans. Describes as "soft yet full-bodied and rich with mild acidity with notes of mellow caramel and sweet milk chocolate". And the milk is from St David Dairy, Melbourne's only micro-dairy.
With Head Chef, Thawat 'Oat' Prommachan (Terminus Hotel, The Glass Den, Mary Miller) at the helm, Riche's menu boasts a selection of luxurious, restaurant-quality dishes with strong Thai and Chinese influences that are designed to be enjoyed as a midweek meal and best appreciated with an alcoholic beverage, which the team hope to include in their offerings soon.
Take the creatively-named 'Baa Baa Who's there', a slow-cooked lamb shank in red curry sauce, perfect with a glass of red. Or, another of Riche's signature dishes, the 'Fresh Off the Boat', steamed barramundi fillet with ginger and Asian greens, soy sauce, shaoxing wine and sesame oil, that pairs well with a glass of white. If you go to this link, you can see some of the stunning dishes.
Enjoy this great fare in their outdoor dining area under newly installed umbrellas, perfect for social-distanced dining as Melburnians make the most of our post-lockdown freedom and the upcoming summer weather.
You can't miss Riche because of the vibrant colour palette. Even if you are not into duo colours as in sports teams, the vibrant colours are amazing. Plus what better emblem for a Richmond cafe/restaurant, which this cafe feels so much a part of.
As well as dining in, Riche has launched DIY Kits, where you can recreate signature dishes at home.
Surprise someone you love with an amazing made-at-home brunch. There are four options including Wake Up in Paris (brioche french toast, seasonal fruits, white chocolate soil served with chocolate ganache, coconut gelato and raspberry meringue), Mr Potato Head (pulled pork benedict, poached eggs, potato hash and sriracha hollandaise), Fritters Get The Jitters (corn and zucchini fritters, tabbouleh salad, pickled carrot, beetroot hummus and a fried egg) and Leave No Bao Behind (spiced chicken, bao buns, pineapple, pickled carrot and daikon, homemade chilli jam, kewpie mayo and fried shallots).
Meals you can recreate at home for that special someone. Fritters Get The Jitters Corn and zucchini fritters, pickled carrot, beetroot hummus, tabbouleh salad, fried egg
Liu says, "We believe Melbournians will appreciate the liberty of being able to dine out more than ever. After all, we live in the food capital of Australia", a title that Melbournians surely won't give up easily."
Boasting an elevated offering with a creative flair, Riche hopes to be a revitalising force in rebuilding not only Bridge Road, but also Melbourne's wider food and dining culture.
This is a fine-looking venue, with lots of light and air and gorgeous white marble tabletops. Perfect for those of us who want to get back to Instagramming our food and showing the rest of the world what a foodie destination Melbourne is.
Richw is on Bridge Road, between Lennox and Church Street, just a short walk from both Richmond Station and Swan Street. There is ample parking available in the area. I had two-hour side-street parking on a weekday!
And while there aren't the same old outlet shops. I did spend some time in the trendy op shop next door. And the Bonds outlet is still there with some terrific savings. Plus just walking up the hill and looking at the new shops made for a pleasant outing. If you happen to be in Bridge Road, you certainly won't miss Riche Fine Food & Speciality Coffee with it vibrant two tones of rich blue and orange. It is certainly a pedestrian stopper.