Friends of Mine is the new baby from Jason Jones of Porgie and Mr Jones. The cafe is situated in the somewhat industrial Eastern end of Swan Street, Richmond and opened just over a week ago. I was quite surprised at the size of the space, with three rooms, an entry (with a seriously delicious looking sweets cabinet), a light filled middle room with polished concrete and accents of yellow, and the somewhat more formal main room, pictured above.
We arrived early (about 9am) on Saturday morning and comfortably found a table for our group of five. As we were leaving at about 10am, the place was completely full. If you want to avoid the crowds and the noise (I’ve been told that the place can get quite loud when it is full) the early morning start is worthwhile, although brekky is served until 3pm.
The menu at Friends of Mine traverses many of the favourites from Porgie and Mr Jones – familiar dishes include the herb and cheesy toast ($9.9), smashed avocado with thyme buttered mushrooms ($16.9, with poached egg $18.9), toasted banana bread with maple syrup ($14.9) and golden folded scrambles with fresh herbs ($12.9). Other breakfast options include bircher muesli with rhubarb and vanilla compote, croissants ($5.5 or $7.5 with ham and cheese) or a selection of piadini and baguettes ($10.9 or $12.5 with a side salad) from the ‘something bready’ part of the menu. Lunchtime offerings are divided into smaller plates (including a bread board, bruschetta and soup), salads (smoked eel, lentil and chicken) and bigger plates (including hapuka, risotto and pork belly).
Arriving first thing in the morning with friends N, L and S, our sights were firmly set on the breakfast side of the menu. S and I are both wheat-free and were very pleased to see that Friends of Mine offers homemade gluten-free bread ($1 extra).
I decided to try something a little different from my norm and went for the eggs benedict ($16.9):
That thick cut piece of toast was gluten-free and would be up there as contender for best ever (the other great GF bread is from Fatto a Mano). The hollandaise was rich but did not overpower the smokey chunks of ham hock and the poached eggs were perfectly wobbly. I’d come back for this alone.
Both S & N decided to go for the Porgie & Mr Jones (and now Friends of Mine) classic of smashed avocado, mushroom and feta:
The avocado had a nice acidity to it from the lemon juice, there was salty richness from the feta and those were some deliciously fragrant mushrooms. Another great dish.
L went the somewhat more healthy route of poached fruit with oat crumble and labne ($11.9):
The dish had a somewhat middle eastern twist thanks to the labne, pistachio and orange blossom. L enjoyed it, but enviously sized up our various egg-focussed breakfasts.
We decided to end with something sweet – a macaron from Babycakes:
These were my least favourite part of the meal – thick, crunchy shells (most with air pockets), too much filling and too little flavour.
Macarons aside, this was a lovely breakfast. Service was friendly and efficient, although I have heard of a few mis-steps from others (it is still early days). Coffee was very good. I am looking forward to returning very soon!
Friends of Mine
506 Swan St, Richmond
(03) 9428 7516