Cheerio review: Breakfast Out

Published 13 February 2013
View original review at Breakfast Out

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Richmond’s chirpy chick

I discovered a new word today: briont. The bastard child of a brioche and a croissant, it is as delicious as it sounds. It’s also on the menu at Cheerio, a new cafe in Richmond that is itself a hybrid of sorts. Between them, co-owners Charlotte Devereux and Chris Handley have worked for some of Melbourne’s favourite cafes and coffee suppliers, including Seven Seeds, Wall Two 80, Batch Espresso and Coffee Supreme. In setting up Cheerio, they’ve cherry picked some of the best qualities of their former workplaces and then added their own distinctive spin.

It’s clearly a formula that works. For a start, it’s hard to believe that Cheerio has only been open for six months. One after the other, the cafe’s steady stream of regulars are greeted by name with genuine pleasure, and many of them seem to have followed Devereux and Handley as they’ve moved from one establishment to another over the last decade or so. The pair’s consistently excellent coffee making – here, using Seven Seeds’ espresso blend – is surely one reason, but it’s only the beginning.

The all-day menu offers simple, home-style food that is lifted out of the ordinary by the use of quality, seasonal ingredients. At Cheerio, the beauty in the detail: heirloom tomatoes and poached eggs on toast ($14.50) are made memorable with the addition of buttery-soft roasted capsicum and a green mole sauce with just the right amount of heat. House-made baked beans ($15) come with a dash of chermoula, some perfectly ripe avocado and a generous scoop of Meredith goat’s cheese. Small and well thought out, the menu is also extremely good value, with generous portion sizes and nothing exceeding $15. For those who miss out on a seat in the lunch rush, the tasty selection of sandwiches ($10) and baguettes ($12) can be ordered to take away.

Like the menu, the cafe’s clean, unfussy interior is brought to life with personal touches and attention to detail. A ceiling feature of wooden slats adds warmth to the stark, whitewashed walls and what appears to be a tiled floor is actually painted concrete. A thread of bright duck-egg blue runs throughout the space, from the stained timber door to the legs of the bar stools and the Acme coffee cups crowded on top of the espresso machine. The tiny room barely seats twenty lucky patrons, so the addition of a couple of outside tables must have caused a collective sigh of relief around Richmond.

Don’t be fooled by Cheerio’s casual appearances. The cafe’s laidback exterior belies the professionalism keeping it humming with repeat business and newcomers alike.

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