Cafes and Restaurants » Melbourne Restaurants » Richmond Restaurants
Past the last shops in the Swan St shopping precinct and before the hustle and bustle of Prahran, between the italian tile warehouses and one-off designer furniture shops, in the shadow of the Bryant & May match factory and in the heart of the textile companies that make Richmond famous. Church Street is the unlikely host of an inoordinate number of cafe’s and coffee shops. It is a section of road that you would pass through on the rickety old 78 tram and not even think of getting off for your much needed hangover cure.
To the casual passerby these cafes seem to be near nothing and have no reason for existance but it is the ultra-hip fashion executives, designers and furniture salesmen that they service. Lunch time during the week is hectic as they rush in, grab a double shot, decaf, soy latte or perhaps a salmon baguette and then rush on their way. Or perhaps they might sit down at one of the crammed tables on the street and talk about the latest fads in swedish bathrooms
This assortment of coffee shops seems to do a great job of catering to these businesses but they don’t seem to be too sure of whether they are cafes or not. 7 grams, is a contradiction, home of the world barista champion it has copies of “The Gourmet Barista” (or some equally pretentious coffee magazine) for sale at one end of the counter and a bain-maree of death full of dim sims and potato scallops at the other. The fine-dining Enoteca and Pearl Restaurant lower their colours for lunch, offering cheap specials supposedly to get the more wealthy lunch crowd in the door. JE Cafe seems more intent on advertising itself as a catering service than servicing its own customers. Amsterdam Cafe seems less confused about its identity but has a limited menu on weekends, which noone knows what it contains. Perhaps the only cafe that truly knows what it wants to be is the fusion inspired Black Pearl but their breakfast finishes at 10 and it is usually packed and the service suffers.
At night the cafes shut, and the quality of Enoteca and Pearl create an interesting juxtaposition with the daytime chaos. Enoteca’s menu turns from a cheap lunch menu to a classic italian restaurant, amazing oysters, quail risottos and pastas with prices to match. Further down the street Pearl restaurant (sister of the aforementioned cafe) serves up a genuinely interesting menu with a combination of indian, thai, vietnamese and chinese flavours as if serving as a halfway house between Prahran and Richmond.
Don’t let the confusion bother you, this corner of Melbourne is wonderful in a strange way, great coffee, good food and great personalities are capped off perfectly with the fine-dining class that Enoteca and Pearl bring. All of this is tucked away from the crowds and surrounded by interesting shops to entertain between coffees. Next time you are in the area, drop in, you might not quite understand, but you will enjoy.Twitter.