Pillar of Salt is one of the many cafes in the Richmond area, located on Church St, about a five-ten minute walk from East Richmond Station. This was my second time here- I'd really enjoyed the green eggs and ham dish I had last time I came, but unfortunately they seem to have since changed their menu, as it was completely different to what I remembered when I went late last year.
We went on a Saturday around 12:30, and had to give the staff our names and wait for about ten minutes for a table. Given how full the cafe was and the amount of people waiting, it wasn't too long of a wait for us, though this may also be because we only had two people. The cafe doesn't look very big upon first entering, but there's actually quite a lot of space, in particular an outside area at the back that is completely shaded. It's actually quite easy to miss this cafe as it's quite hidden, with no signs indicating its location. The service was good, with friendly staff that gave helpful suggestions when we couldn't quite decide what to have. We did have to wait awhile to order though as it was so busy, and our food took about fifteen to twenty minutes to arrive.
The atmosphere was great, with lots of lively chatter due to the vast number of people. Some of the tables do seem a little cramped- you had to move on your side to get into your seat, but once you actually sat down, it wasn't too bad. Breakfast is served until 4pm on weekends, and the lunch menu begins at 12pm. The weekend menu is similar to the weekday one, with a few minor alterations and dishes not offered. Apart from what is listed, there's also a display cabinet of desserts and lunch items, as well as a specials board featuring a soup and tart of the day. My friend had heard that the coffee here was quite good, and decided to order a latte. It was very light and creamy, and wasn't too strong. It was perfect to have in the afternoon to go with our meals, and complimented the dish nicely.
The two dishes we ordered were the Rigatoni with a pork and fennel sausage ragu with fresh grated parmesan ($17) and the Pillar's red chilli scrambled eggs ($16.50). Rigatoni is similar to penne, though a little larger in size. This was cooked well, with a nice elasticity that wasn't too hard or soft. The pasta sauce was a little thinner than usual pasta sauces, but there was good taste and flavour. The sausage ragu was tender, and you could really taste the pork and pepper flavours. It wasn't too dry due to the sauce, and there was a good balance of tomato and sausage. The flavour and texture of the fennel couldn't really be tasted however, and was vastly overpowered by the pork itself and the seasoning, and it would've been nice to have more parmesan on top.
The scrambled eggs came with julienne bacon, spring onion, parsley and parmesan on a slice of toast. There was a generous amount of ingredients, and the slice of bread was thick enough that it didn't become soggy beneath everything else, though the crust was a little hard to cut into. The chilli scrambled eggs had good heat, but wasn't so spicy that you had to keep drinking water- it was more like a hit of chilli here and there in combination with all the other elements, which was good. The bacon slices (julienne means to slice into long, thin pieces) had great flavour, and wasn't too salty. The scrambled eggs itself was light and fluffy, and the spring onion gave good flavour and texture. There was quite a bit of spring onion in the eggs though, so if you're not a big fan of the flavour, it may be too much. Perhaps because of this, I couldn't really taste the parsley in the dish.
I would definitely come back to Pillar of Salt again, as there are so many dishes on both the breakfast and lunch menus that I want to try out. The prices aren't too bad considering it is in a popular area with many great cafes, and portions are generally good enough to leave you feeling satiated at the very least.
A special thanks to my lovely friend TC for the HQ photos of the coffee and scrambled eggs dishes :)