I want Cheerio to be my lounge room. Not just because the name reminds me of happy country folk, but because Cheerio doesn’t or feel look like every other cafe opening every other weekend.
It’s warm and welcoming and no one makes it seem like lingering at the table after you’ve eaten is costing them money. It’s a comfortably quirky design, too: a swirling retro pattern rolled out on the concrete floor and soaring white brick walls capped by a row of exposed wooden roof slats.
Cheerio has seating for 20, including a rear communal table, and the central counter made up of two wooden benches with underneath storage is both functional and stylish looking. It holds the shiny silver La Marzocco coffee machine, aqua-blue cups and saucers, and two planks of wood strewn with soy milk, Seven Seeds coffee and Hepburn Spring flavoured mineral waters.
But it’s the recycled wooden entrance door that really does it for me. Set alongside a window with views out to a charming Lennox Street, it takes me back to a country town, especially on a rainy day.
The dynamite duo behind Cheerio are partners in business and life, Charlotte Devereux and Chris Handley. Together they boast creditable hospitality nous, Devereux having managed Seven Seeds and Batch Espresso and Handley a partner at Wall Two 80 and previously with Coffee Supreme. So it’s no surprise that the coffee is spot-on - they use Seven Seeds ($3.50) - and only five weeks in the place is running like a well-oiled machine.
The menu is small with enough flair to keep it interesting and an emphasis on quality feel-good produce: free-range eggs, Bonsoy, Jam Lady jams and Jonesy’s milk.
Breakfast is served from 7am and the servings are liberal for the prices. A steaming bowl of porridge ($9.50) is loaded with raspberries and roasted rhubarb, crunchy macadamia nuts and a scattering of brown sugar. It’s a wonderful winter warmer.
Tomato beans ($13) arrive thick and flavoursome, peppered with ripped oregano and piled like pyramids on seeded toast. Crumbed fetta with a nice balance between creamy and tart lifts a simple and satisfying dish.
Two wobbly poached eggs ($15)with hollandaise sauce are a delight. They balance atop wilted and lemony winter greens tossed with punchy fried pancetta chunks.
For lunch sandwiches and toasties (all $10) are the order of the day. My favourite was the garlic roast chicken that made no apologies for the hits of garlic. Chunks of moist chicken butted up against springy frisee lettuce and a wonderfully lemony aioli.
Cheerio is a lovely addition to Richmond. But get in early or go late as I’ve a feeling this little space is bound to get crowded.
323 Lennox Street, Richmond
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-4pm, Sun 8am-4pm
*seriously smooth coffee
*individual cafe design