As an uncanny combination of casual cafe and upper class restaurant, Richmond Road Cafe also (probably unknowingly) tips its hat to the diverse community of Grey Lynn. The establishment has been operating in the inner-city suburb for years under the watchful eye of Hip Group, the folks that have their hands dipped into every other restaurant in Auckland: Cafe on Kohi, Ortolana, Milse, Provenance, The Store, Takapuna Beach Cafe and plenty of others.
Between the casual/chic furnishings, takeaway sandwiches and sweets, you’ll find beautifully presented plates on the all day menu and an every-occasion drinks list that you'd be hard-pressed to fault. There’s everything from house-made sodas and pick me ups like the classic Bloody Mary to bottled craft beer, champagne and local wine, as well as lovingly made coffees and an alluring list of smoothies. The combination of stonefruit, ricotta and cinnamon is a solid choice and equally refreshing. You’ll also find on the menu interesting options like avocado with flaxseed and almond with protein powder.
With access to the garden of Hip Group’s Matua Road Farm, produce is supplied internally and supports the company's overarching ethos of transparency - these guys know exactly where their food comes from, and will tell you too. They also proudly state the origin of their meat and dairy on the menu. Being an all day affair, breakfast/brunch/lunch melds into one and provides some interesting choices; eggs Benedict can be ordered with smoked trevally, gnocchi comes with peas, egg and the edible flower nasturtium, and the omelette is spearheaded by the common stinging nettle. The seared kingfish is presented in a beautiful symmetrical layout and borders on sashimi. The fish is accompanied by radish and basil - which is given extra tang from a vinaigrette and a striking orange gazpacho. The open steak sandwich is more generous in size and even manages to feel like a healthy option with a decent amount of greens.
Even the staff are in on the two-sided operation, being completely professional while having genuine banter and charm. The relaxed upper half of their attire is also offset by a crisp white apron on the lower. Somehow the confused mixture of fancy and relaxed really, really works. And we can't wait for the big wigs at Hip Group to sit back and brainstorm their next creation while (probably) dressed in power suits and running shoes.