Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

New York Tomato

6 New St
Richmond VIC 3121
+61 3 9429 0505

On weekends, it’s so easy bludging like a mofo day by day. You’re out of touch with the daily grind of your normal working week, and out of touch with the rhythm and blues (oh, did I just make a Billy Joel reference? Snap!), that all you want to do is to sleep in until 2pm. Or 3pm. But sometimes getting up really early on a Sunday morning (like, Rage early) and making the trek to Richmond for brunch with friends is worth it. And if you’re going to New York Tomato, oh yes, it’s ESPECIALLY worth it.

You’re probably thinking, ‘New York Tomato? WTF name?!’ and you wouldn’t be the only one. The story behind the name, however, is simple. The cafe simply sits comfortably on the corner of New and York streets in Richmond. As for the tomato bit? I can’t think of a good explanation for that, except for the apple being associated with the big city and the Italian word for apple translates to ‘golden tomato’? *big shrug*

Aaron and Cathy, who will always be forever joined to the hip, and I had rocked up just before 11 on a Sunday morning thinking that it wouldn’t be TOO packed. We had assumed that people would still be nursing hangovers from the night before and SURELY wouldn’t be up until after midday? Wrong! It was a full house and there was already a line of people waiting to get in. We were told to stand outside and they would call us when a table became available. That was cool with us but not so cool was when the group of four who were behind us got let in before us, only because we were too busy talking and didn’t realise that the group were ‘jumping the queue’ until it was too late. I mean, I don’t blame us for being awesome enough to engage in such heated conversations but it wouldn’t have been hard (nor rude) for the staff to butt in and go, ‘excuse me, your table is ready?’

But anyway, that was the only bad thing that happened during our visit so rest assured that the rest of this post will be all happy happy la-la, sunshine and rainbows for NYT. We did, eventually, score a table (and a  spare copy of the Herald Sun) in the courtyard outside. And right under a bicycle too. Because it’s not like we don’t see enough of them around in this part of town on weekends.

I must also add that I love how they grow their herbs out in the ‘waiting area.’ From fresh mint to basil to thyme, and even Vietnamese mint which I thought was interesting as it’s a herb that’s normally confined to Vietnamese restaurants.

Raw sugar in an old drink bottle; salt and pepper in old I-Don’t-Know-What bottles.

My skinny latte ($3.30) was a solid performance. It ticked most boxes – smooth, creamy and full of flavour. It was slightly on the warm side though.

Aaron loves this tea so his decision to get the chai tea with vanilla honey ($4) was a no-brainer. He (and us girls) were expecting a pre-made mug of not-really chai that you can buy from T2 so we were surprised to see him get a somewhat elaborate set-up. Hot, sweet and fragrant milky tea was served in a Chinese-style teapot with the vanilla-infused honey sitting prettily on the side. It’s not often that we see cafes serve chai latte ‘the real way’ so we were extremely happy with this. BIG thumbs up.

This is Cathy’s Open B.R.A.T. (bacon, rocket, avocado and tomato) sandwich ($16.50), their version of the traditional BLT sandwich. Haha I would have loved them to appeal to my love of all things 80s by calling it the B.R.A.T.P.A.C.K sandwich but coming up with things that start with P, another A, C and K would have been too hard. Well, the P would have easily stood for the beautifully poached egg, a crown on the empire that consisted of crispy pieces of bacon, creamy avocado, cooked tomatoes and toasted sourdough. I would take the B.R.A.T.P.A.C.K. over a normal BLT any day. And current-day Rob Lowe.

Aaron went for the quesadilla ($15.50), an odd addition to a breakfast menu, I thought. I was proved wrong though. The soft tortilla rounds were gently stuffed with refried beans before being pan-fried. A mild spiced tomato salsa with jalapenos, parmesan and coriander made their house on top, with our friend poached egg popping by for a bit. It was a dish that would have worked well as both a lunch and a breakfast dish (and also a dinner dish). It was tasty and filling, but not overly so that your stomach wouldn’t feel gross an hour later.

I usually order eggs for breakfast but I was on a mission to have an egg-free breakfast. With this in mind, I chose the Belgian waffles ($15.50). Yes, I know, no eggs and what’s this, Libby? A sweet breakie? Something must REALLY be wrong! But no, I’m glad I chose the waffles because this was a freakin’ awesome dish. Crispy, mismatched pieces of waffles met up with slices of poached vanilla pears and strawberries to form a non-concrete jungle where dreams are made (Jay-Z reference, yo!). Blueberry maple syrup made things sweet and sticky, while a spiced hazelnut labne balanced things out. It was effking delicious, though not something that I’d order every single time as I will always be a savoury tooth at heart.

The three of us thoroughly enjoyed our brunch. We also had enough food in our tummies to last us until dinner time so I’d say it was good value. Ignoring the queue-jumping incident, we thought that the service was friendly and well-paced for a leisurely Sunday morning-turned-afternoon (read: not crazy Cantonese fast, but not boozy Waurn Ponds winery slow either). And we’ll be back. As for you newbies, do head down to the corner of New and York Streets in Richmond. Why? Because these streets will (sing it with me, guys) … make you feel brand new.

New York Tomato on Urbanspoon

4 Comments on New York Tomato

  1. Hannah
    February 5, 2011 at 09:10 (4 years ago)

    Current Rob Lowe… *shakes head sadly* Though he’s not bad in the early seasons of The West Wing! Your waffle breakfast looks straight-up-amazingtown!

    Reply
  2. shirlz
    February 5, 2011 at 10:56 (4 years ago)

    Those dishes look HUMUNGOUS (or maybe it’s just Bill’s new monitor) but even looking at them makes me full.

    I’m glad you’re off your egg-free breakfast thingy cos that business was a no-go!

    Reply
  3. Ashley Ng
    February 5, 2011 at 12:42 (4 years ago)

    Mmm, I was here sometime last year but it’s completely gone off my radar in trying to keep up with all the new places opening up! Thanks for the little reminder, your waffles just look diviiiinnneee!

    Reply
  4. Catherine
    February 7, 2011 at 15:42 (4 years ago)

    Yumm! I try to have a non-egg breakfast once in a while too.. and those waffles definitely look worth it :)

    Reply

Leave a reply