I don’t envy someone opening up their own restaurant. It is a huge risk. In Richmond, there is exceptional competition, especially for cafes.
Given Touchwood is down the road from where I live, it was with anticipation that we first ventured to Bridge Road for breakfast. I’ll put that experience to the side, because it was far less than perfect. First impressions are important, but need to be balanced with the early headaches of opening a restaurant. I gave it several months before going back for lunch and found an improved cafe with a bit more assuredness. This time it was make or break. There are too many other great places around for one more negative experience.
You are never sure how staff and diners alike are going to be the morning after the AFL Grand Final. Bright, sunny and windy outside, inside very pleasant with no signs of the celebrations from yesterday (for Hawks supporters at least). No wait was a nice surprise, and although it took quite a while for someone to come and take our order, it didn’t take too long to then bring out the coffee, and food thereafter.
Catherine chose the second of two avocado selections featuring feta, mint, house smoked salmon, and pickled onion. The house smoke is strong, giving good depth of flavour to the salmon. The multigrain bread is terrific and there is plenty of fresh avocado mingling with the feta. While experimentation is great, I went plain and simple with poached eggs and crispy bacon on sourdough. It is good quality, as this breakfast staple should be. A slight critique is not buttering the bread. While there are a lot of fitness fanatics here, it is Sunday breakfast!
The coffee here is one of the best on Bridge Road. Both long blacks were consistently well made. Oranges are particularly good at the moment, and the OJ lived up to the season. On the service side, the chaos has definitely settled, and Touchwood has some rhythm. The floorstaff were friendly and were keeping their heads above water, just. It is a big cafe, with plenty of space out the back which will be great for summer. I need to add that the burger for lunch is a winner too!
Every restaurant deserves a second chance. The issue for new places is that if you are going out of your way, and you have a negative experience, you might not do the same again. Judging by the crowds since day one, Touchwood is pleasing many more than it displeases. Now that things have settled, I have been converted.