Parking on Swan St Richmond, just near the netball courts, has probably never been so tight. But with faithful Melbourne foodies chasing the next big thing and milling around outside in near sub-zero temperatures at brunch rush hour, you can bet you'll do a couple of laps.
After opening last Thursday (11th), Friends of Mine has been trickling onto blog posts Melbourne-wide. SwanBridgeVic and The Social Marketplace for being so prompt. The place certainly stands out with its Verve-Clicquot-Yellow awnings. Ok, so they're not actually Verve branded awnings, but the cheery colour just screams champagne to me. Fortunately, if you are that way inclined, you can enjoy a glass of bubbles with your eggs (Champagne Henriot NV at $18 a glass).
So, lets re-cap what others have said. We'll do it quickly because word travels fast and most of you probably know this by now and have done so for a little while, given how hungry us Melbournians are to be 'in the know'. So, a) The newest venture of Jason Jones, of Porgie and Mr Jones, Snow Pony and Bright Young Things fame; b)Decked out in vintage industrial style; c) Offering menu favourites from the other venues, including herb and cheesy toast and smashed avocado and mushrooms; and d) offering the best of ingredients from the best of Victoria's producers (FOM are so proud of this that they've listed said producers on their menu and website. Check it out.)
I'm a big fan of the front two rooms. Infact, I'd like my own kitchen to resemble this, if only I had Jason Jones' eclectic style and a bit of space. The third room is a slightly different style, a little more bistro to me. Maybe there's future plans for this space or maybe its a deliberate ploy to get people talking about the decor in general. If its the latter, its working.
We couldn't have arrived at a worse time, bang on 10.15 am; but, we were told a mere 15 minutes and I think we waited for less. I was a little disappointed to be seated in the more formal room (I swung by on open day and immediately knew I'd enjoy breakfasting on the communal table); but, beggars and choosers and all that. Besides, we were right under the heater which was delightful after waiting in the cold.
I had the herb and cheesy toast with bacon and eggplant kasundi. Its surely an art to have crust so crunchy and bread so soft, probably a combination of noisette bread and chef prowess. The cheese was pretty mild but boy, did the eggplant kasundi pack a punch. It was delicious, but so generous and so spicy that I left a fair dollop on the side. All dishes were pretty generously proportioned and I didn't really need to finish off my toast, but I couldn't bear to leave it.
Friends of mine, those I was eating with that is, had Smashed Avocado with Thyme Buttered Mushrooms (and poached egg) and Jack+Jill Smashed Avocado (with poached egg) and and they were generous enough to give me a little taste of the delicious Green Eggs. You can read about these on ...it pleases us and SwanBridgeVic respectively. Not bad places to check out some photos either, along with The Social Marketplace and Broadsheet Melbourne. I felt Saturday breakfast service wasnt the best time to start snapping around.
What have I forgotten? Hmm, the coffee? Fantastic. I'm not exactly sure what beans they're using, but it went down a treat. Oh, and the waitress uniforms ... interesting that the female waitstaff, all two of them, were decked out in bright yellow pinafores while the guys kicked around in their own funky style. That struck me as a little odd.
Courtyard seating is apparently in the pipeline, which could ease the breakfast squeeze. Its easy to be cynical of us fanatics who rush from one 'next big thing' to the next 'next big thing' and I've been a little slack at checking out new places recently, but when the food lives up to the hype you remember its more about hunting down and supporting great venues who are good at what they do, than it is about being in the in-crowd.
Anyone keen to do it all over again tomorrow?
506 Swan St
7.30 - 4 Mon - Fri
8.30 - 4 Sat - Sun