Bosisto's Liquor Bar
318 Bridge Road, Richmond (map)
As it happens, Sunday was only my first visit to Bosisto's Liquor Bar. It's the suburban outpost of the Spirit Fingers team (the guys behind city bars Double Happiness and New Gold Mountain). Blessed with a classy interior and some good looking staff, Bosisto's does breakfasts, light lunches and light evening fare, with an emphasis on salumi (click on "Slicer Porn" at the bottom of their website to see footage of their sexy sexy meat slicer in action).
Although I was tempted by their ricotta hotcakes, my love for white anchovies meant that I had to order the delicious poached eggs with white anchovies, aioli and rocket on a toasted panino ($13).
Two of the Ladies Who Lunch, Miss T and Miss B, were in attendance. Both ordered the poached eggs with prosciutto, fior di latte mozzarella and roasted tomato ($15). The prosciutto and mozza gave a lovely Italian flavour to the standard poached eggs.
It was so cold outside and the leather booths were so comfy that after we'd finished brunch, we decided to order another coffee each and try a few of the little cakes on offer. I chose the pecan pie.
The girls chose the berry cheesecake and the date, honey and macadamia cheesecake. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs so we struggled to finish the cakes, but they were delicious nonetheless.
2 Amsterdam St (right near corner Church St), Richmond (map)
It was a very brunchy weekend, as on Saturday morning housemate DJ and I had met Oosh for brunch at Amsterdam Street. Amsterdam Street is the Richmond cafe formerly known as Digable. We're thrilled that, in its new incarnation, it is open on Sundays (as we needed somewhere close to home that does great coffee, and both DJ and I have decided we don't care for Pearl Cafe).
Spot the housemate in the above photo!
DJ ordered the vegetarian omelette of roasted mushrooms, goats cheese and thyme ($10.50), then devegetarianised it by asking for extra ham. Oosh ordered the french toast with bacon and maple syrup ($11). I had a taste and pronounced it very nice: they'd used a good baguette and plenty of cinnamon.
Even though I'm not generally a fan of scrambled eggs, I decided to try the burrito with scrambled egg, wiled spinach, tomato and chilli jam ($12). I liked it, but (as can be expected) the burrito got soggy very fast and the chilli jam dribbled out making a bit of a mess...
Oosh and I shared a plate of extra bacon. Even though his french toast CAME with bacon, Oosh had been so hypnotised by smell of cooking bacon when trying to find Amsterdam Street that he insisted we get extra! What a piece of work. :)
"We've got these brownies, but I'm afraid they're still slightly warm from the oven." We blinked at her. "You say that like it's a BAD thing!"
181 Swan Street, Richmond (map)
Swan Street may seem like the "wrong" end of Richmond for phở, but Love Pho is not only must closer to home than Victoria Street, their phở is damn good ($9 for a generous bowl)..
Their salt and pepper fried bean curd ($12.50) tastes amazing, and their signature spring rolls ($6) are pretty good too.
Oh, and I'm partial to their Beef Luc Lac (diced beef cubes with dark soy sauce, $15). "Luc Lac" means "shaken": I learned from Viet World Kitchen that this name is derived from the back and forth shaking of the skillet as one sears the cubes of beef.
Post Office Hotel
90 Swan Street, Richmond (map)
The Post Office Hotel is a pub located opposite the Corner Hotel, in that cute higgledy-piggledy Edwardian building that used to house Dizzy's. It's tiny and dimly-lit, but cosy on the inside and open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. In keeping with its namesake, my favourite feature of the Post Office Hotel is a post box (to the far left in the above photo). To quote from their website:
"It’s hard to deny – there’s something just so cool about letters. About sending post cards. About pen and paper. Something so cool and, maybe, romantic? Whatever it is we all agree, so we’ve installed a post box at Post Office Hotel to help with your letter-writing! Here’s the deal - any letter or post card posted in the Hotel’s Post Box will be stamped and sent by us. For free! For nothing! And the Hotel Post Cards are free as well. So there it is. No more excuses. All you have to do is begin -
My second-favourite feature of the Post Office Hotel is their wood-fired pizza oven. I like the Calabrese ($17) and the pizza with mud crab, tomato, chilli, mozzarella, dill and mango ($19).
Cherry Tree Hotel
53 Balmain Street, Cremorne (map)
The Cherry Tree Hotel is my most local local, within easy staggering distance from our place. I'd previously written about the Cherry Tree, but thought I'd mention them again as it's under new management and - very excitingly - now open on Sundays!
The food that I've sampled there, while not extraordinary, is good honest pub grub. When I went there with my sister Birdie, I had beef burger with salad, mustard aioli and chips ($15). She had the rare Thai beef salad ($15.50).
Their pizzas are too thick for my liking, but the Angus minute steak with chips and salad ($14.50) is damn tasty.
The Cherry Tree also has a rather lovely and impressive room out the back, where a slightly more refined menu is on offer.
The Cherry Tree still serves an excellent range of interesting beers, and I love the fact that the staff chalk up the nine letter target word puzzle from The Age each day, next to their specials. :)
I've been reading about Cremorne's and the Cherry Tree's sordid past in James Cockington's wonderfully-titled book "History Happened Here: Strange but true stories from Australian suburbia". The chapter about Dennis "Mr Death" Allen states:
"With the quaintly-named Cherry Tree Hotel as his unofficial head-quarters, Allen ran his empire of heroin, prostitution and illegal guns from a series of houses in Stephenson, Cubbitt and Chestnut Streets. His mother, Kath Pettingill, was also intimately involved. She ran a brothel at 108 Stephenson Street, the house next to the Cherry Tree. There was a hole in the connecting wall so that drugs and money could be passed through easily.
Allen made a lot of money very quickly, mainly through cash transactions in heroin. Drugs were sold openly in the back room of the Cherry Tree or, when the cops were applying rare pressure, on the railway lines behind his houses. Detectives watching his operations from the disused Rosella factory estimated he was making $17,000 a week from sales of drugs alone.
The Cherry Tree hotel still remains, tastefully renovated and frequented by yuppies instead of junkies. But even today, long after the exit of the Mr Death dynasty, a visit to his former domain can bring a chill to the spine."
For the record, I've lived in Cremorne for two years and this suburb has never brought a chill to my spine!
337 Lennox Street, Richmond (map)
Noi Thai's new, very swish website calls it the best Thai food in Richmond. I heartily agree! Their red duck and lychee curry, served in a fresh young coconut, is out of control. Sooooo good, and in my opinion a bargain at $20.90.
The shopfront on Lennox Street is rather unassuming, but the staff are lovely and friendly and the food is excellent suburban Thai: they also do a great green papaya salad, and a stir fry with chicken and lots of bamboo shoots. Recommended!