in naga culture (north-east of india), whenever a member of the community comes into wealth or plenty, the entire community comes together to share + celebrate in a ‘feast of merit’. and it is this same culture and philosophy that oozes out of richmond café ‘feast of merit’. opened in march 2014, the café is wholly owned and operated by charity organisation ygap, with 100% of all profits contributing to funding social enterprise + entrepreneurial projects with a vision to achieve ‘a world without poverty’. this social enterprise culture is backed up with a ‘farm to fork’ philosophy – ensuring that a quality and flavourful menu is on offer, skilfully executed by a professional team of chefs (who talk + act more like family) + served by some super-lovely waitstaff who appear to genuinely love what they do. at least this was the experience i discovered when invited to an intimate breakfast to sample the cafe’s new spring menu last week… and what a feast it was!
the spring menu, entitled “middle east meets melbourne”, draws on the inspiration of melbourne’s vibrant food culture as well as a demand for quality, accessibility and flavoursome produce. staying true to its middle-eastern inspired roots, there are some pretty tempting breakfast dishes on offer too.
a deliciously creamy bircher, i loved the addition of the crunchy zesty dehydrated oranges. this was just a sample size, but you can order the full-size dish from the new menu.
accompanied by carrot juice, with navel orange, grapefruit, ginger + early grey – refreshing, zingy and a lovely comforting touch with the earl grey.
then it was on to the ‘mains’ … a couple of the other lovely ladies around the table opted for:
spring harvest: avocado, roasted cauliflower, smoked yogurt, spiced eggplant, vintage carrots with soft egg + flat bread
bbq ocean trout, hummus, preserved lemon, baby peas and tendrils smoked almonds, poached egg with toast
but i just couldn’t resist the middle eastern crumpets with vanilla and cinnamon labneh, mandarin curd, maple “honeycomb”
the first surprise for me with this dish was the stack of wafer thin crumpets layered on top of each other – providing a very unique and flavourful texture not usually associated with crumpets. the labneh added a lovely creamy element without making the dish too heavy… but let’s be honest – it was really that mandarin curd that we were all talking about! give me that in a jar with a spoon + i could be quiet for a whole night! overall, this was a delicious and fresh dish… and i know i’ve used it a lot in this piece already, but it really was zesty – an ode to the season that we’re in + the wonderful citrus fruit that is available in abundance. i may have licked the bowl!
and let’s be honest there is no way you’re getting a group of foodies out of bed before 8am on a friday without filling them with delicious coffee… much-needed!
the interior itself is stunning – a tasteful mix of exposed brick, distressed painted furniture + fresh blooms. offset by large windows, gorgeous bench seats and sunlight streaming in from swan street… making for a tastefully decorated and vibrant interior with a warm and inviting atmosphere. it was a wonderful morning, and almost a shame that i had to get myself back into the office by 9am… although at least the gifted macaron made morning tea that extra bit yummy!
verdict: middle east meets melbourne
(n.b. inlovewithbrunch dined as a guest of ampr and feast of merit, however all thoughts are honest and genuine)