in the three years that i’ve lived in melbourne, i have driven past ‘friends of mine’ on swan street richmond a handful of times and had put a mental note in the back of my head to check this place out when i could. today was that day. some great friends of ours joined us for our ‘walk and brunch’ despite the crisp (freezing!) winter breeze, and before we knew it we had walked and talked the length of swan st down to #506. it’s hard to miss the gorgeous yellow awnings and hanging flowers, and even harder to miss the line-up outside. i have a love/hate relationship with having to wait for a table for breakfast… love because it is usually a sign of great food + a popular cafe; hate because i’m usually starting to get pretty hangry after a 5km walk + desperately need that first coffee. thankfully we talked our way through the 20min wait for a table this morning, and the sun even graced us with its delightful warmth out on the street for a while.
the interior of ‘friends of mine’ was much larger than i’d expected, with a really great ambience. there were some cute corners with tall armchairs and floor-to-ceiling length mirrors, fresh flowers throughout, and of course plenty of recycled wooden benches and exposed hanging lights (the warehouse/up-cycled trend is still well alive and kicking in melbourne). there is a gorgeous photo on the back of the menu, reminding me that i am beautiful – cue warm and fuzzies for the morning – aww 🙂
firstly, the coffee + food was great. husband, friends + myself were all happy with our choices. not blown away, but very happy.
bloody mary with a shot of organic cucumber vodka + celery salt.
now, i am not typically a bloody mary drinker so i will take it on good advice from my friend that this one was a winner.
poached eggs + bacon on toast. eggs were runny + well-cooked. bacon was delicious, just the way it should be and a generous serving size.
eggs folded with herbs + bacon and toast. i had plate envy for this one as i’m going through a bit of a scrambled egg craze at the moment and these looked creamy and delicious. again, a very generous serving size and my friend thoroughly enjoyed her brunch.
baked eggs with baked beans, ham hocks, spiced chorizo, fetta + house-baked bread.
the addition of cannellini beans + fetta were amazing in this dish. combined with the ham and chorizo in the tomato-based sauce, this dish is a great combination of flavours and perfect for a chilly morning. the bread was fresh + soft, however i would’ve loved a serve of butter on the side.
‘hung over’: herb + cheesy toast, poached googies, bacon + smashed avocado (sans the spiced eggplant kasundi)
the cheesy toast looked sooo good, and so much better than my plain unbuttered toast. again, great bacon + generous serving size. my friend remarked that the smashed avocado was fantastic.
bircher muesli with rhubarb + vanilla compote, craisins, honey yoghurt + pistachio.
this was melt-in-your-mouth creamy + soft. beautiful rhubarb + yoghurt.
as i said, overall the food was great. and overall the service was pretty good. i say pretty good, because it started off well, but unfortunately there were some disappointing moments throughout our morning that gradually compounded to sway my overall perception of the service by the end. the waiter that took our order as we were seated was extremely friendly + accommodating even making some suggestions. but then oddly a different waiter delivered one of the juices we’d ordered (an orange + a grapefruit) and wasn’t able to tell us which one she’d delivered (the juice is served in a brown bottle so its not easy to see the colour of the liquid)… “well its for your table so it must be right” was her response. then, the deal breaker for me … we were never asked again if we’d like any other coffees or drinks. i, like most coffee-drinkers in melbourne, will have at least 2 if not 3 coffees in the morning. pretty disappointed, especially given i did try to catch a couple of waiters eyes. eventually, i settled for ordering us another round of takeaways when settling the bill, which was then another 10 minute wait.
my hope is that the service issues were a once-off. i’m intent on focusing on the positives: the menu + food were delicious, the atmosphere was great + overall we had a lovely morning catching up with our friends.
verdict: not blown away, but very happy
p.s. for those intending to go, keep in mind that this is another one of those ‘cash only’ establishments. go prepared.