Even after an absence of several months, going to The Fair Foodstore is like catching up with an old friend. It’s easy to forget how comforting it is intimately knowing a cafe when you are eager to find the next big thing.
It hasn’t been around for years and years. Yet the script is assured and measured. Great coffee provided by Wide Open Road in Brunswick; excellent food featuring fresh, quality ingredients; and a small room with six tables surrounding a communal table in the middle with some bench seating on the window.
I’ve tried several dishes on the menu and they’re all good but what I go back for is the cafe staple of bacon and eggs. At The Fair, the consistency in a dish that is as easy to cook, as it is easy to mess up, is first rate. The poached eggs are always perfect and oozy. The bacon, which I order crispy, is always deep in flavour and of great quality. The toast is always generously buttered artisan sourdough.
The smashed peas, the pulled pork roll, and everything in between are great breakfast and brunch dishes. While the staff do change, service is consistently good, and the consistency out of the kitchen suggests the chefs haven’t changed since the beginning (or the handover has been first rate!)
The Fair is every bit as good as Friends of Mine and Touchwood which are among Richmond’s busiest cafes. It might not necessarily be the place to “be seen” but the food and coffee speak for themselves and have good looks to boot.
We were back at The Fair for breakfast recently and I particularly enjoyed one of the specials offered. The black pudding with duck egg was incredibly decadent. The consistency of the duck egg was quite glutinous, holding together to provide some sauce for each bite of the generous serving of black pudding. Fried chickpeas added great texture and a burst of flavour and the onion wasn’t overpowering, adding a good dose of flavour too. If it is offered when you are dining there, make sure you give it a go if you like black pudding!
Catherine had the smashed peas and broad beans with ricotta on pumpkin bread. This is a breakfast classic and one of Catherine’s favourite dishes full stop.