Touchwood – 480 Bridge Road Richmond.

Bridge road in the heart of Richmond dived further into recession this month, as we saw more businesses forced to close flagship stores due to high rent renewals and slow retail traffic.

This threat, casting it’s ugly eye over so many store owners has not stopped the creators from Pillar of Salt (Church Street Richmond) and Coin Laundry (now sold), Tall Timber and Station Street Trading Co. joining forces and setting up shop nuzzled next to the long standing Boozy Rouge at Bridge Road’s Burnley end.

Five Senses long black from Touchwood

Five Senses long black from Touchwood

Touchwood, the 120-seater café was flat-out this weekend as locals keen to see a café stick around in the area; lined the footpath, hoping Broadsheet’s premature star review was true.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have to wait long for my place at one of the larger communal tables, as groups as big as 10 and as few as two, made their ways in and out of the two roomed indoor café area in front of an open kitchen and into the sun filled back courtyard.

Whilst killing the 30-minute wait for food – patiently explained by the wait staff – I sampled some of the barista’s work. The bean of choice, once again, is Five Senses here (a fine choice) and the staff are faced with a Synesso Hydra (another fine choice). Unfortunately, the baristas are still getting their heads around the two. Despite the effort clearly laid out, my long black was over-extracted and burnt, leaving too much bitterness behind. My espresso resonated somewhat the same but was more potent in its acidity.

Five Senses espresso

Five Senses espresso

Slightly disappointed, I waited for my food, as more eager patrons crammed through the door.  Some 40 minutes later, I was served with my food. The braised mixed spice beans, lentils, cotechino sausage, basil, poached egg with marinated feta served with a side of sourdough on a chopping board and the tequila and citrus salmon with poached egg, smashed peas, dill, lemon crème fraiche and sautéed endive on sourdough. And with that, my expectations were exceeded. The toast was soft enough that I didn’t need a steak knife, the eggs had ample “runny” factor and the citrus salmon melted in my mouth. The presentation was practical yet creative; although many impatient soles around me complained about having to “build their own bagel”.

Braised, mixed spice beans

Braised, mixed spice beans

tequila and citrus salmon

tequila and citrus salmon

The only criticism I can make about the food is that they appeared to under order their stock take. The cotechino sausage that lured me to the bean dish had run out, and whilst I was offered a bacon substation; I chose otherwise. 5 & Dime bagels too were short handed but these are small blips, I am confident, will be overcome as the hype settles after a big opening weekend.