Wednesday brunch rolled around yet again, and surprise of all surprises, Bennett actually offered up the suggestion of a venue this time. Excellent! Of course, he then ended up running late to his own brunch and turned up to find that we’d all ordered without him, because we are terrible, terrible people. Also hungry people.
Pillar of Salt sits on a corner in Church Street, and is deceptively bigger than it appears from the street. Go through the front room past the coffee machines and it turns out that there’s a big courtyard out the back that catches sunlight on a hot day like no-one’s business. It is a haven for suits, and quite a few power-brunches seemed to be occurring around us.
Conscious that it had been a good long while since I went with a sweet breakfast, I decided on the blueberry and pear bread with vanilla bean mascarpone, toasted oat crumbles and spiced poached pear slices. The bread itself was a little dry and crumbly, but luckily it was resting on a sizable pool of stewed blueberries that provided enough tasty, sweet syrup to soak up with the bread. The mascarpone was thickly whipped and sweet, the pears nicely spiced and had been poached just so they still had a whisper of a ghost of firmness to them. Best of all were the toasted oat crumbles, little crunchy nuggets of yum! Alison also went for this option, but ended up being slightly defeated by the sheer girth of the bread slices. It’s a hefty brekkie, so don’t take the challenge lightly.
I was keen on the food, but the pot of Five Senses earl grey tea I also ordered can only be classified as an unforgivable disappointment. It arrived at the table in a cute little iron pot very promptly after I ordered it… a little too promptly. One taste confirmed why – it was hideously, disgustingly over-steeped. The kind of over-steeping that can only occur over a period of at least 10 minutes. Making me think that perhaps my tea had actually been someone else’s forgotten or canceled order. Which really shouldn’t happen, ever. Tea isn’t like a slice of cake or a sandwich, once poured it won’t keep until someone else wants it. It just gets super gross.
Kim had the corn fritters with smoked salmon, avocado and coriander salsa with a poached egg. The salsa alone certainly looked impressive, and had I not been so intent on ordering sweet I probably would have gone with this, and most likely heartily enjoyed it.
Pat went with the eggs benedict with smoked ham, apple cider hollandaise and a shaving of granny smith apple pieces on brioche. It looked delightfully old school, and Pat was very pleased by the inclusion of apple and said that it lent the dish both a sense of lightness and some interest texturally.
Due to the fact that he was late, combined with a strange rule that means the kitchen at Pillar of Salt takes a rest between 11.45 and noon, Bennett received his meal quite a long time after we all received ours. His lamb salad, with an array of greens, red onion, heirloom tomatoes and paprika-sprinkled rectangles of feta looked ample and fresh, although he ended up ferrying a lot of his feta over to Kim (why do I have so many friends with cheese problems?).
As we were paying I got a close look at the cake and baguette cabinets, and all the items within looked incredibly impressive, from the fat, generously iced banana and coconut cupcakes to the handsomely overflowing baguettes. In fact, all the food I saw and sampled at Pillar of Salt was very enjoyable, and I’d be interested in trying more of it. Should there be any subsequent visits, however, I’ll probably stick to juice and avoid the tea options. I just can’t take abuse towards tea lightly.
Pillar of Salt
541 Church Street, Richmond
Ph: 9421 1550