Everything about Fifty Acres signals style and quiet confidence. Having been open since 2013, this sleek Richmond cafe reliably and consistently provides a high quality experience with excellent coffee and thoughtful food, whether you're after a quick mid-week breakfast or a lazy weekend brunch.
Sitting just outside the CBD but not yet within Richmond proper, this end of Bridge Road can feel slightly limbo-like — so it's a breath of fresh air to wander into the welcoming embrace of Fifty Acres on an idle weekday lunchtime. It's industrial, but, surprisingly, still abundantly warm; with sleek black side-boards, marble counter tops and soft warm wooden furniture, it's clean without being sterile. The gold lighting features and vaulted ceiling add to the effect. Every detail has been consciously chosen including the denim and black apron-clad staff and beautiful crockery, all contributing to an overall sense of calm.
Start your visit with an expertly prepared coffee courtesy of Dukes or tea from Storm in a Teacup, which is poured ceremoniously from individual creamy black teapots. A small cubby-hole in the wall allows you to observe the well-run kitchen while perched at the sturdy counter-top sipping a warming beverage. The notably excellent cakes and pastries would make a welcome addition to an afternoon trip.
The more substantial food offering is very good and changes seasonally, with the addition of some hearty soups in winter to combat the biting Melbourne elements. An excellent choice from the brunch staples would include the big breakfast ($21) with toulouse sausage, roasted tomatoes and your choice of eggs or the signature chorizo scotch egg ($18), which is a real winner. Lunchtime dishes are often inspiring, and we thoroughly enjoyed the tasty and beautifully-presented quinoa salad with poached eggs and sumac ($16).
A separate visit on a Saturday found the place buzzing with activity, so be prepared to wait for a seat. But it's definitely worth it — the helpful staff will even accommodate you with a caffeine injection to aid your wait. Fifty Acres is a fine spot to pause on the way to an event at the MCG or to rest after indulging in some retail therapy on Bridge Road. Pick a perch outside to invest in some quality people-watching time and ponder the rest of your weekend.