Cheerio

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI don’t visit Richmond as much as I’d like, given the endless dining options in the area. I did manage to sneak in a quick brunch there with a few friends though, and we chose to dine at Cheerio, a little cafe located off the main road.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

I’ve been really feeling egg-heavy dishes lately, and upon hearing great things about the omelette at Cheerio, it was a no-brainer to order.

The omelette was extremely soft and creamy, and the triple cream brie certainly helped in that respect. It is definitely not a light breakfast, but hey, I knew what I was getting myself into. Having said that though, the confit tomatoes and the asparagus hiding beneath the pillow of omelette did prevent the omelette itself from becoming dangerously heavy, and I was left quite impressed.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

The pumpkin soy toast itself was no ordinary bread, being from Woodfrog Bakery, one of my recent finds at a Sunday Market, the toast was quite structured, and did not disintegrate even when I piled the omelette on it.

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Avocado, Tomato Medley, Basil, Meredith Goat’s Cheese, Sumac Dressing, Toasted Pepitas, and Tomato Salt on Pumpkin Soy Toast – $16.00 With 2 Poached Eggs – $4.00

The other dish that I got to try was Cheerio’s take on the classic smashed avocado. The chunks of avocado were of exceptionally high quality, none of that under or over-ripe business here. I always love the addition of nuts and seeds to any dish, and the toasted pepitas were no exception.

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Cheerio seems a lot more homely than some other cafes around the area, and we really enjoyed our time here. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape next time you’re on the bustling streets of Richmond, take a detour and pay Cheerio a visit, I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.

How to get here:
Catch the train and get off at Richmond Station, and Cheerio is a short five minutes walk away.

Cheerio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Friends of Mine

Richmond is filled with good restaurants, so for one to last on the busy strip, they must be doing something right. With that in mind, we headed off to brunch at Friends of Mine.

Unlike the trending all white everything interior a lot of cafes have been going for, Friends of Mine goes for a much more richer tone, with a grand chandelier near the entrance, although not my style, it is nice to see something different once in a while.1

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From Top to Bottom: Latte, Cappuccino, Flat White

We all ordered different coffees, and they were all done properly, and tasted pretty great.

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Cured Salmon Gravlax – $19.00

The salmon gravlax was on the healthy side of things, while still being quite substantial. The salmon were plump and cut quite thickly, and tasted great when dipped in the egg yolks. I wish there was some sort of carb on the plate too though.

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Crispy Barramundi

The piece of barramundi was on the small side of things, but the crispy skin was certainly delivered, with a hint of smokiness. The salad that the fish sat on appears to be Asian inspired, with a simple vinaigrette dressing.

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Red Velvet Hotcakes

This is no longer on the menu as well, but don’t worry, you’re not really missing out. On paper, red velvet hotcakes sounded like perfect, however, these were extremely dry and quite hard. I honestly don’t know how they made these, the outside was almost like a shell? We managed to eat one hotcake between the three of us, and left the other one completely untouched.

6Overall, Friends of Mine seems to be your run-of-the-mill cafe in the suburbs, even that might be a bit generous, given that the brunch quality in the suburbs has improved significantly over the last year.

I really wish I had nicer things to say about Friends of mine, unfortunately, the food we tried were average at best, and in a place like Richmond, where there is an abundance of cafes nearby, I would much rather go somewhere else.

How to get there:
Catch the Belgrave or Lilydale train and get off at Burnley, Friends of Mine is around five minutes walk away.

Friends of Mine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pho Dzung Tan Dinh

Spring is here! Although the weather hasn’t felt like the season has changed, that’s for sure. What better way to warm yourself up than a great big bowl of pho, with that in mind, let us get into today’s review.1Pho certainly isn’t hard to come by on Victoria Street, however, Pho Dzung Tan Dinh’s stellar reviews led us to dine here tonight. The interior was a lot cleaner than some other Vietnamese restaurants, with white and non-sticky tables, and a variety of condiments on the table, a promising meal was expected.23

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Special Beef (Medium) – $10

The menu had every pho topping combination you could imagine, and I settled for my usual order of special beef. Two bowls of piping hot noodle came out in less than five minutes, and after mixing in some bean spout, I was ready to dig in.

Pho Dazung certainly was generous with their toppings, beef balls, tendons, sliced rare beef, among other goodies were floating around in the white bowl, but my favourite part was the soup. Something that always fascinates me is how a clear soup can have such an amazing depth of flavour. I couldn’t taste any MSG in the soup base, and happily slurped away.

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Sliced Chicken and Egg (Medium) – $10

The chicken pho was equally delicious, with the soup being lighter than the beef version, but still full of flavour. The sliced chicken was a little dry however, but that was made up with the flavoursome soup in my mum’s opinion.

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Service was pretty much non-existent, as to be expected, but the quality of the pho means that I will definitely come back. If only there was some high quality pho closer to home.

How to get there:
Pho Dzung Tan Dinh is located on Victoria Street in Richmond, catch the 109 tram and get off at stop #21 Church St/Victoria St, and the restaurant is 4 mins walk away.

Pho Dzung Tan Dinh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maedaya

Over the years, so many people has recommended Maedaya to me, both in the blogsphere as well as my regular friends, because Richmond is filled with so many great restaurants, it took me a while to finally pay Maedaya a visit for dinner with a friend before she embarks on a two-months volunteering trip to Cambodia and Laos.

Maedaya Sumiyaki Set – $15.00

One of the main feature that sets Maedaya apart from other Japanese restaurants in Melbourne is their large selection of grilled skewers! The skewers are being freshly grilled by the chef in the middle of the restaurant, and the smoky aroma hints at a good time ahead.

Because there are a myriad of choices and it was our first time, we decided to get two platters to try out a bit of everything.

Top:Yakitori
Bottom:  Chicken Balls w/ Mayo

The Maedaya Sumiyaki Set came with chicken balls with mayo, two types of yakitori, inari kushi, and a beef skewer. The chicken ball was juicy and tender, and the yakitori’s glazing made it so morish to eat.

Inari Kushi

I thought this was sliced pork at the start, but it turned out to be beancurd sheets which have been rolled and grilled, with a sprinkle of chilli over the top.

Top: Yakitori
Bottom: Beef Skewer

The yakitori was topped with spring onions rather than the glazing, which meant you could enjoy the simple flavour of the chicken. The beef skewer was also seasoned simply with some salt and pepper, and had a bit more bite to it, with a ton of beefy flavour coming through.

Maedaya Tsukune Set – $11.00

The chicken ball set was flavoured with a range of sauces and spices, including wasabi mayo, spicy mayo, chilli flakes, pepper, and garlic. My favourites were the spicy mayo and pepper, and my friend can’t eat spicy food, which meant her favourite was the garlic.

Grilled Rice Balls – $2.00

Originally we ordered the rice balls because they just looked so funny, however, it actually turned out to be the perfect accompaniment for all those skewers!

Okonomiyaki – $13.00

The okonomiyaki looked amazing when it was put on the table, the glazing was so shiny and the kewpie laid so perfectly over the top. There was a good amount of cabbage in there, which meant there was plenty of bite to the pancake, however, it was still a lot softer than what I’m used to, maybe because of the thickness? The glaze didn’t just looking pretty, it was just the right amount for the okonomiyaki too.

Takoyaki – $5.50

The takoyaki were a bit cold, possibly because of how long I took to take some photos haha. They had plenty of octopus pieces though, but I wish they were just a tad more crispy.

Soba Noodle Salad – $9.50

We also ordered a soba noodle salad for something more substantial, and to add some vegetables into the mix because #health. The dressing was definitely the highlight of this salad, it was tangy and sweet, providing a lighter end to our meal.

Despite desperately wanting to out some of the desserts, we made the mistake of over ordering, and was so full by this point, surprisingly the bill was just under $60, which is pretty cheap considering how much we ordered, we could’ve easily forgone one or two dishes.

I can definitely see the appeal of Maedaya, and why there was a twenty minutes wait even on a Tuesday night, and I’ve already marked it down for a place to revisit since there is so much more on the menu I’d love to try!

How to get there:
Maedaya is located on Bridge Road, catch tram #48 towards North Balwyn from Parliament, and get off at stop #20, Coppin Street/Bridge Road, the restaurant is less than 100 metres away.

Maedaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Serotonin Eatery

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is thought to be a contributor of well-being of wellbeing and happiness, with a name like this, it is no surprise that Serotonin (the café not the neurotransmitter) boasted a large range of plant-based, organic food drinks to boost up your happiness.

Cappuccino w/ Coconut Milk – $5.00

None of us had ever tried a coffee with coconut milk before, it had quite a distinct flavour, but if you like coconut, you’ll probably like this.

Matcha Latte – $7.00

The matcha latte was soooooo bitter, don’t get me wrong, the matcha flavour was very strong too, but it was a lot more bitter than I’m used to, which meant I dumped two spoonful of sugar into it. After that, this was pleasant to drink, with the black irregularly shaped hug mug from Made in Japan adding some extra quirk.

Left: Cacao Coconut Latte – $8.00
Right: Matcha Latte – $7.00

The kitchen somehow forgot about our orders, and when we asked one of the waitresses, she apologised profusely and offered us another round of of drinks on the house, turning a potentially annoying situation into an enjoyable one. Seriously customer service is what makes or breaks a meal so often nowadays, and I’m glad that the staff at Serotonin have been trained properly.

The cacao coconut latte combines my two favourite flavours, coconut and chocolate, and with some more added raw sugar, the drink made the wait for the food feel like nothing!

Positive Pancakes – $22.00
Positive Pancakes – $22.00

Everyone and their mum have been raving about these pancakes, so of course we had to give them a go. The pancakes tasted… healthy, and banana-ey, which comes at no surprise since it’s made with dehydrated banana flour (yup that’s a thing now), with banana (n)ice cream, blueberries coulis, fresh strawberries and toasted almonds on top. This actually tasted alright, but it’s just not my type of pancakes unfortunately.

I mean if I’m craving pancakes, I want pancakes that taste of straight up flour and butter, with maybe caramelised bananas and crispy bacon on top, all drowned in a good amount of maple syrup. I know that’s clearly against literally all the things Serotonin appear to be, but hey, each to their own.

Deconstructed Sushi Bowl – $17.00

My friend found the syringe of soy sauce way too entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyed squirting it over the wasabi peas, smashed avocado, capsicum, pickled ginger, sliced daikon, cucumber and carrots, and the bed of brown rice and quinoa. After mixing it all up, the result was a light version of a sushi bowl. The wasabi peas and daikon did ensure that there were some texture going on though.

Nutrition Bomb – $22.00

Another crowd favourite is the nutrition bomb, and it’s definitely packed full of nutrients from the variety of fresh and roasted vegetables. The hummus acted as the dressing, and the overall result was a bit bland. A tahini dressing might have added some more flavour? I did like the roasted pumpkin though!

Apparently there is seven different types of sitting areas decked out in the space, you can even grab your food to go in a picnic basket and have a cute little picnic across the street!

Although the friendly service at Serotonin was impeccable, unfortunately the food was just not that special to me. I mean I get the whole health craze that Melbourne is so infatuated with, and this is the perfect place to rock up in your Lululemon get up and fit right in, but in all respect, that’s just not my cup of tea. I just feel like I could have whipped up most of the dishes here without too much issue at home, and can’t justify paying over $20 for a bowl of vegetables that did not require much prepping, and was nothing special flavour wise.

The restaurant was packed the entire time we were here, so clearly I’m the odd one out in this situation. If you’re wanting something light and nutritious for brunch and can’t be bothered cooking yourself, then I guess Serotonin is the right place for you.

How to get there:
Catch the Glen Waverley, Lilydale, or Belgrave train and get off at Burnley, the restaurant is pretty much right across the station!

Serotonin Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Richmond Oysters

Anyone that loves seafood would’ve heard of Richmond Oysters. A group of us decided to go there for dinner because there were a few vegetarians amongst us, and seafood would just make things a lot easier.

Bloody Mary Pacific Oyster Shots (3) – $15.00

Ever since I tried out Bloody Mary Oyster Shots from SOS Seafood, they’ve been on my mind. The combination of the punchy, sour and salty Bloody Mary contrasts beautifully with the briny slippery oysters.

Bread Board, Olive Oil, Dip – $7.00

One of my friend is obsessed with bread, so she pretty much smashed down the whole board. The bread was warm and soft inside, with a crispy exterior, and both the olive oil and dip went well with it.

Seafood Risotto – $29.00

The risotto came with a generous selection of seafood – prawn, fish, calamari and mussels. The seafood were all cooked well, but the rice was slightly overcooked, and the dish tasted a little dry overall.

Seafood Platter – $125.00 + Sashimi – $19.00

A bunch of us shared the seafood platter, and although the waitress said it would be enough for two, I think four of us shared it and we were all pretty full by the end of it.

The Moreton Bay bugs were poached perfectly, and its freshness could be tasted without the addition of any sauce. The fresh oysters were lovely when slurped up with a light squeeze of lemon juice. The sashimi was okay, I wish they gave us more wasabi though! The salmon rillettes were a bit on the salty side of things and I wasn’t really a fan.

The mussels were amazing, they were plump and went well with the tomato based sauce. I wish we had some more bread to soak up all that juice!

The prawns and fish were grilled well. The crispiness of the salt and pepper calamari and soft shell crab created a nice balance of textures and flavours for the platter. I loved the baby octopus and the Hervey Bay scallops, there’s really nothing better than the sweetness from the fresh produce themselves.

Fish and Chips (Flake + Crumbed) – $25.00

The three slices of flake were fried amazingly, with a super crunchy batter while the inside remained nice and juicy. The calamari rings were fried in a much lighter batter, and were not rubbery at all!

Although there were a couple of misses, Richmond Oysters does offer a good variety of seafood that are well cooked overall, so you’re a lover of seafood, then hit it up! But if not, then stay away since your options would be super limited.

How to get there:
Richmond Oysters is located on Church Street, one minute walk from East Richmond station, which is on the Glen Waverley line.

Richmond Oysters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Top Paddock

Clear sky and brunch, possibly one of the best combination ever. Top Paddock doesn’t really need an intro right? It is often seen as one of the best brunch places in Melbourne, which is quite a title imo, and the real question is, does Top Paddock live up to that?

Chai Tea – $4.00

I went for chai instead of coffee, because I already had my coffee in the morning. It was served in a teapot that kept it warm, nothing out of the ordinary, but certainly hits the spot.

Soy Cappuccino – $4.20

Top Paddock isn’t really famous for its coffee, but they are up to standard. The cappuccino was very smooth, and I liked the latte art.

Black Angus Hanger Steak w/ Tuscan Red Onion Jam, Whipped Wasabi Butter & Sorrel on Turkish Bread – $21.00

The waitress highly recommended the daily special, so I decided to switch things around and not order the all-so-famous hot cake LOL. When it was first placed on my table, I was quite disappointed because it looked really plain. However, once I took a bite of the steak, my opinions changed completely, just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover! The steak was juicy and tender, and perfectly medium rare, I do wish it was cut a bit thicker though. I really liked the whipped wasabi butter too, such a simple yet innovative idea which pairs well with the steak!

Top Paddock – $22.00

My friend went for the Top Paddock, their take on a big breakfast. There was definitely plenty on the plate – chorizo, bacon, eggs, pickled onion, peppers, green tomato. I love how Top Paddock gave this classic dish an elegant twist, down to the tiny pieces of basil, it really all comes down to detail. Random fact of the day: my friend’s so weird, she eats her poached eggs in one bite, as in, she literally chucks the whole egg in her mouth and just eats it o.o Does anyone else do this?

A wait is to be expected at Top Paddock, but there is plenty of space once you’re inside, with several communal tables, seats alongside the bar, some more intimate tables in the back, as well as an outside eating area, the amount of light that comes through the windows makes the place so inviting. Top Paddock is a lot less pretentious than other brunch restaurants I’ve visited, and never fails to impress me with their food, which is why they will always have a spot on my list of the top 5 brunch places in Melbourne!

How to get here:
Top Paddock is on Church Street, a 10 minutes walk from East Richmond Station, or if you’re feeling lazy, catch tram 78 or 79, and the stop is right outside of Top Paddock.

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