Monday, June 18, 2012

Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder

I think anything that contains a restaurant/cafe AS WELL as a larder and cheese room sounds pretty damn good, doesn't it? I visited Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder for a Sunday lunch with my two cousins (foodie and fussy), their partners and my boy. We are trying to do this triple date lunch or dinner once a month or so which is lovely and we really enjoy their company. And with many varying budgets and tastes, equipped with the handy Entertainment Book, this fancy cafe had something that would suit everybody. They don't take bookings, so we were extremely lucky to walk in a few minutes before a table of six stood up to leave.

The cafe itself it very sophiscated and stylish, much more restaurant than cafe though the menu boasts both. Craig though the atmosphere was a little pretentious but I didn't mind it too much. It was very loud and difficult to hear, and the staff did seem a little rushed because it was so busy.

We were originally not going to have entree's, but I was curious about the 'famous grilled cheesy toast with eggplant and chilli pickle', so we decided to share a serve. What a treat! Not good for the arteries I am sure, but this was the ultimate grilled cheese on toast. The relish went beautiful with the rich melted cheese. I loved this- such a homestyle dish with a fancy twist.

I ummed and aahed over my mains, finding it really hard to choose between the hand cut papparedelle with merino lamb, San Marzano tomatoes and red wine ragu, goats feta and marjoram and the twice cooked pork belly with sage and onion stuffing, caramalised apples, celeriac, dry cured bacon and cider soaked prunes. What a decision! Because I had already had papparedelle this weekend, I decided on the pork belly. Craig got the pasta though, and ended up with extreme food envy of me. Both he and my cousin who ordered the ragu felt it was a bit bland and expected a more meaty and less tomato-y dish. I had a taste and agreed it was nothing all that special.

My pork belly however, was amazing. Beautiful crispy crackling, tender pork, a beautiful sauce, soft and creamy celeriac puree. It was everything pork belly should be. And for a dish that can be so easily hit and miss, they have done a beautiful job on this one. The presentation was stunning also, like a little piece of food artwork.

My cousin's boyfriend enjoyed the special pasta, an oriechiatte (is that how it is spelt?) with chicken and bacon in a creamy sauce.

My other cousins husband decided it was a soup day, and ordered a mushroom soup that looked rich, creamy and delicious. It was complimented by some cheesy toast- what a combination!

The pan roasted snapper with spring bay mussels, diamond clams, fennel, olives, apple and citrus (ordered by my adventurous foodie cousin, of course) was another dish that really caught my eye so it was great to be able to taste hers. It was presented beautifully and was perfectly cooked with gorgeous citrus flavors. Probably more of a summery dish than a winter lunch menu dish, but it was lovely and light and fresh.

Overall, a pleasant dining experience at Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder. Its a sophisticated and upmarket take on your typical cafe and the prices reflect this. I would definitely go back, perhaps for breakfast next time.

Richmond Hill Café and Larder on Urbanspoon

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