Review: Touchwood Cafe, Richmond

After yet another early Saturday morning yoga session, I met up with K at Touchwood Cafe in Richmond. Part of the family of cafes that includes Square and Compass and Mammoth, Touchwood has been designed in much along the same lines though on a slightly larger scale. A mix of industrial chic with warm Scandinavian wooden tones, the cafe is definitely peak hipster.

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The clientele of Touchwood seems to be slightly different as well. Perhaps it’s the larger size of the space inside or the inclusion of a handful of communal tables, but Touchwood seems to draw two extremes – either singles brunching alone lingering for two hours over the Saturday newspaper, or large groups of friends having a long leisurely brunch.

The large table we found ourselves on that morning  featured both types – a group of ten young women on one end, and a handful of single middle-aged men sipping on their lattes, flicking through the Saturday Age and stoically ignoring everyone around them on the other. Strangely, we seemed to be in the minority as a couple brunching together.

Health Lattes, Matcha, Tumeric and Beetroot, $5 AUD each
Health Lattes, Matcha, Tumeric and Beetroot, $5 AUD each

I think K was keen to order a normal cappuccino as he is wont to do, but I convinced him to share one each of Touchwood’s Health Lattes with me – matcha, tumeric and beetroot. While I’m a big fan of green tea / matcha lattes, I’d never tried tumeric or beetroot lattes before…and to be honest, I’m not sure if they’re to my taste. To be even more honest, I don’t think their matcha latte was to my taste either!

I think it’s the mix of coconut, almond and soy milks that are used in these health lattes which turns me off. I love soy milk and often make my own. However commercially produced soy milk like Bonsoy often contains extra ingredients that overly sweetens the product and changes its taste profile. This in turn has an interesting effect on the matcha, diluting its characteristic stronger and more bitter flavours.

PBJ Doughnut, $5.50 AUD
PBJ Doughnut, $5.50 AUD

Something that was much more to my taste were the deliciously and sinfully rich PBJ Doughboys doughnuts sitting on the counter. After waiting nearly forty minutes for our meal with no food in sight, I sent K to the counter to order a doughnut to stem our hunger pangs. Naturally, as soon as he came back with the doughnut on a plate, our food arrived!

Wholemeal Waffles, $17.50 AUD
Wholemeal Waffles, $17.50 AUD

I really didn’t need to order the sweet doughnuts given that I had ordered a semi-dessert brunch in the Wholemeal Waffles served with fresh berries, maple syrup, almond flakes, strawberry dust…and…peanut butter mascarpone. That last ingredient is every bit as heavenly as you would imagine, and you can bet that I’m going to make it at home as a priority for the next time I make pancakes!

Breakfast Tacos, $14.50 AUD
Breakfast Tacos, $14.50 AUD

K chose the Tex-Mex inspired Breakfast Tacos as his brunch dish – replete with scrambled eggs, avocado, baked beans, corn, potato, jalapenos, and lots and lots of cheese. It’s just about what you expect from a breakfast taco – so over-stuffed with ingredients that a knife and fork is the only way in which you can attack it. No criticisms or rave reviews here, it’s a pretty standard fusion brunch dish!

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The long wait to place an order and receive our meals was a big strike on my book against Touchwood Cafe. I’m impatient at the best of times, and when I’m hangry after an early morning workout, you definitely don’t want to keep me waiting for food! The drinks were definitely a bit hit and miss, so it’s worth opting for a more traditional choice of drinks if you do choose to visit Touchwood. As for me, I think I’d only go back for another taste of that peanut butter mascarpone!

After we finished our brunch at Touchwood, we went for a long walk along the Yarra River – training for the 35km charity walk we’ve signed up for! Please consider sponsoring me if you have a few dollars to spare.

Touchwood Cafe is located at 480 Bridge Road, Richmond.

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