It's always exciting when a new cafe opens, especially one that looks funky and has a lot of fresh energy from new owners. I spied Pillar of Salt on Church street earlier this week, and popped in yesterday for a quick juice. One look at the gorgeous goodies on the counter, and I knew I had to come back for lunch. Which I did, today!
Pillar of Salt
541 Church Street
Richmond VIC 3121
Ph: (03) 9421-1550
The building used to be a pretty average cafe, run by two lovely Chinese ladies, whose food and coffee were, unfortunately, not as lovely as they were. It closed down a while ago, due to too much competition in the area. Since then, the new owners have completely refitted the space, with funky exposed brick walls and a light airy feel, which extends to a bright courtyard out the back.
It was a bit of a struggle waiting till lunchtime for my coffee, but I don't do more than one a day and I really wanted to enjoy a nice dine-in coffee with my lunch so I could get a good picture! (See the sacrifices I make for my readers? Hehe.)
|Latte, Cappuccino - $3.50 each|
The coffee was pretty good, although I think there are nicer ones at cafes that concentrate soley on coffee (Espresso 3121, Brother Baba Budan etc). It seems that cafes these days concentrate on either coffee or their food, and Pillar of Salt falls into the latter category. It's hard to find a cafe that excells at both food and coffee. But if you know of one, I would love to hear about it!
My friend ordered the lamb burger with chips. It was $18 on the menu, but only came up as $16 on the bill, wahey! I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I saw it, as the burger was quite small, and the chips didn't look crispy - I think it's one big potato slice, fried on either side and then cut into chip shapes - but by all accounts the lamb burger was fabulous! It had a soft bun, and generous amounts of sauce, feta and rocket. It looked small, but was a satisfying lunch.
|Lamb Burger and Chips - $16|
I had to order the tart of the day, which was the item which caught my eye the day before, cooling on the bench. Apparently they have a different flavour every day; today's was goats cheese, mushroom and herb. Incidentally I had the exact same flavour in an omelette at a nearby cafe the day before, but this was so much better!
|Tart with goats cheese, mushrooms and herbs - $12|
Other options at Pillar of Salt include a range of baguettes, rocky road, toasted sandwiches and freshly baked muffins (rhubarb today) in the cabinet, a cooked breakfast menu and other lunches. Can't wait to go back and try more!
6/12/2010 - So, as I'd mentioned when I wrote this post, I was very keen to go back to Pillar of Salt and try more food. I've been back a couple of times now, and here are some thoughts:
- The Positive: Breakfast savouries in the front cabinet are fabulous!
- They have delicious-looking rolls with either bacon or smoked salmon, and they also do extremely cute mini rolls. These are filled with one slice of tomato, a few spinach leaves, one perfectly poached egg and a spoonful of kassoundi. I got one for breakfast the other day - only $3.50 and quite tasty, although I found it a bit odd to have a poached egg that was both runny AND cold.
- Another morning I went in looking for a savoury breakfast, and because none of the rolls had been assembled yet, they made up a toastie for me - actually slicing thick pieces of ham off the bone, and toasting it up with ciabatta bread and cheese. So nice of them!
- The Negative: Service was a bit lacking on my subsequent eat-in visit, during a busy weekday lunch.
- My friend ordered the same lamb burger as he did on our first visit, and although the chips were better (Matt from Pillar of Salt, by way of Claire, by way of Twitter, has informed me they have a proper deep fryer now), we saw lamb burgers at other tables with more generous servings of chips. Also, they didn't give us dipping sauce this time, which disappointed my friend because he really liked it the first time we went!
- As for me, I ordered a chicken baguette... and was given a chicken sandwich! When I told the waiter it wasn't what I'd ordered, he went to check, then came back and told me they'd run out of chicken baguettes, but had ham baguettes and chicken sandwiches. Um... ok? Why wouldn't they have told me this before they made the sandwich? That way I could have changed my order or accepted the substitution. And it would have been a total non-issue then. I was staaarving, so just took the sandwich - and it happened to be delicious - but it just seemed odd the way the whole situation was handled.