Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 4:30pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 5pm
Coffee: 5 Senses, Single Origin
“It’s the pillars in life that we rely upon. Whether being the structural integrity of a building, the foundation of wealth or the values races stand upon centuries ago. Salt is a commodity just like crude oil, and like the crude oil of today it was heavy relied upon. It was once the sole commodity to preserve fresh food in which wealth and bloodshed had occurred over salt plains. Moving into the present, where life is easier – can a cafe be worth its salt? We trekked to Pillar of Salt on a cold Sunday morning to find out ourselves.
Pillar of Salt is smartly located on Church Street, Richmond with vibrant grey exterior walls and lovely designed blinds. It is home to white collared work bandits and stylish furniture shops, including Space Furniture (the definition of stylish dreams). Situated on a corner, the seating layout is in a ‘L’ shape with the option of sitting in their terrace. With a brick feature wall and without the high ceilings gives a homely/cosey feeling, which is attributed to the large inviting front windows that allow natural lighting. It would be my type of local cafe if I was to work around the area. However, there is a small problem- acoustics. My theory is that having brick walls and low ceilings heightens the acoustics of the room, thus attributing to a loud atmosphere. You can’t prevent yourself from hearing nearby conversations. It was getting to the point that it felt like being in a packed bar/pub rather than a relax cafe.
Pillar of Salt sources their coffee from 5 Senses. Lately, I have being having a few coffees from 5 Senses and in my book they are surprising me with every coffee. Just like at The Pint of Milk, the blend on offer was the Dark Horse Blend, consisting of a four different beans from Columbian, Costa Rican, Ethiopia and Guatemalan. My long black [$3.5] was dark and rich with a bitter taste aftertaste. It wasn’t an unpleasant bitter taste, rather the right amount to enjoy the slight harshness it embodies. This flavour may result in a knee-jerk reaction from some coffee drinkers, making them reach for the sugar. It was a coffee with a dark twist which I had enjoyed and was a good mix with the sweeter flavours which other cafes often deliver.
My menu choice was skewed on this occasion, due to my sickness developed by bike riding in the winter nights. I do believe that when I am sick my judgement and palate are certainly off. With this said and in hindsight, the menu of Pillar of Salt is impressive. They offer innovative and attractive brunch and lunch options and they also bake their own quiches. Yum! Yum!
On this occasion, I had a rather simple dish – Red chili scrambled eggs with julienne bacon, spring onion, parsley, a hint of parmesan & toast [$16]. The scrambled egg was a little dry upon being served, however the filling was of a good combination and married well. The bacon strips were generous and tasty with the grated parmesan giving it a nice cheesy taste. I don’t know whether it was my sickness, but I couldn’t taste chili at all! It was a disappointing dish for me having seen Ms SLs and neighboring inspired dishes. Looking back at my selection, it appeared to be marketed at a punter who wasn’t in the mood for an exotic or innovative dish. It seemed disappointing that the creativity couldn’t be translated into this option.
I realise I am pointing out negatives, but I still want to go back for another sitting. My sickness may have misled me, but the innovation the kitchen can deliver is note worthy. It is becoming a favourite in Richmond by drawing crowds, but I think to really appreciate this cafe requires a weekday sitting.”
“It was a miserable looking day when Mr LB and I set out to Richmond’s Pillar of Salt. There was a short wait of 15 minutes before we were seated with staff being very friendly and attentive, taking our order of coffees as we sat down. What’s immediately noticeable when entering was the atmosphere – acoustically loud, beautiful down lights and gorgeous brickwork. A fully white-tiled pillar in the centre of the main room, representative of the name. A cheeky wander around the back revealed another, larger indoor seating area. It was charming but a little ‘jail-like’ with all the brickwork.
Our coffees arrived and it was the Dark Horse blend by 5 Senses. We first experienced this blend at The Pint of Milk, in Newport. I have to point out that on this occassion I did not pick any hint of cherry, but what immediately hit my palate was the bitter taste of the bean. Mr LB pointed this out upon sipping his long black, as well.
After perusing the menu I opted for the Eggs Benedict, with ham off the bone, apple cider hollandaise on toasted brioche [$16], although I was immediately jealous of a neighboring table which ordered the House baked banana bread with mixed berries mascarpone and peanut praline [$14]. Everything on the menu looked absolutely delightful.
When my dish arrived I was excited. The brioche was golden brown, the ham fresh and the hollandaise looked absolutely glutenous. I first had a little bit of the sauce, which was thick, rich and creamy. The consistency was perfect and the apple cider added an interesting twist to the traditional lemon hollandaise. I next broke open the egg, which was cooked perfectly. The yolk was thick and gooey and bright orange in colour – a beautiful contrast to the yellow sauce.
The ham was soft and tender – not at all like the sliced rubbish found at big-branch grocers. The brioche was soft and slightly sweet – full of air and thick to cut. It added the volume necessary to make this dish feel complete.
Overall Pillar of Salt was a nice experience. The acoustics of the venue was the only downside – it definitely didn’t give the ‘lazy brunch’ feeling which I normally enjoy. The service, however, was fast and friendly. The kitchen and barista station seemed to handle the Sunday brunch crowd with ease, pumping out food without sacrificing quality. The menu here is enticing and I would like to come to try some of the simpler things here – such as the banana bread.”
Final thought: “Great stop for a weekday breakfast.”