Unexpected Delight: Review of Cafe 117, Richmond.

It’s funny what can happen when you set out to do something. Confronted with an obstacle, what do you do? Turn around and go home, or make lemonade out of lemons?

I encountered such a dilemma this morning. Having planned a delicious Sunday breakfast at Demitri’s Feast, my boyfriend, his best friend and I set out for Swan St at about 10:30am. Thunderstorms had been predicted, and I was slightly nervous about the limited indoor seating in Demitri’s Feast. From across the road we could already see that it was buzzing and there was a crowd waiting. After squishing inside with the throng, it became clear that we could be waiting for quite  a while. And my empty stomach was not cool with that.

We decided to leave and find somewhere else on Swan St to enjoy a tasty brunch. Across the road, Torch looked quite nice and trendy, but was overpacked as well. Ah, the perils of dining on a Sunday! Thank goodness I am fairly underemployed and thus have plenty of free time during the week in which to indulge myself. I quite emphatically view this fact as a win.

So, what did we do? Glad you asked. My boyfriend spotted Cafe 117 back on the other side of the road, and I thought it looked quite nice. Understated, but then I know that those places are often the best. In fact, it looked something like this:

Charming, no? Cafe 117 is understated but was also very busy this Sunday morning.  After quickly perusing the menu outside, I liked that they had a number of types of muesli and healthy options and we decided to give it a go. A couple entered just ahead of us and could not find a table, but as they left two women (who had also not wanted to wait in Demitri’s Feast) got up from their 4-seater table and exited. Perfect! We quickly had a seat and started deciding. By now we were all hungry and I probably would have happily eaten a chunk of coal, but I still appreciated their delicious-sounding breakfast items.

I decided to have the ricotta pancakes with caramelised banana, bacon and maple syrup (after almost nearly having the pancakes with fresh fruit and whipped cream, a somewhat not-really healthier option). My boyfriend and his friend both opted for the big breakfast. When our meals came, we were not disappointed. To get an idea of my breakfast this morning, just look at the picture above. Mmm, it’s making my mouth water just thinking about it. Thank you, Cafe 117! When this was brought to our table, both my bf and his friend, as well as people at the table next to us, commented on how good it smelt. It was delicious. The pancakes were light and fluffy, and didn’t taste anything like ricotta at all! I am presuming (read: hoping) that they are perhaps healthier than normal pancakes, but that wasn’t really the point. The banana was sweet and smooth, and beautiful with the maple syrup. And I think that bacon and maple syrup is my new favourite food combination. I never knew how good they were together! They are truly food soulmates. The bacon was delicious, crispy and sweet. A beautiful and unexpected breakfast.

The big breakfast looked amazing too. In fact, here’s one I prepared earlier:

My boyfriend gave this dish very high praise, which means a lot coming from someone who has had many a big breakfast. After stealing a few bites of the hash brown, I have to agree. In his words (roughly), everything on the plate had been done well. The hash brown was particularly tasty, as it had a curried filling. Something a bit different, which I very much appreciated.

The servings for all of our meals were very generous, as I’m sure you noticed, and the service was prompt. Our waitress was relaxed and helpful, and found it hilarious that my boyfriend’s friend (suffering from a monstrous hangover) was in dire need of lots of water. Although Cafe 117 may seem a little rough around the edges, it does do great food. A spacious, gothic-style interior with big tables and plenty of room to move also bodes well. The muffins at the counter looked beautiful, and I would be keen to try more of their breakfast menu. I got a really good feeling from Cafe 117, and will definitely be dining here again.

Don’t you just love how the universe works sometimes? This morning turned out to be quite an adventure, and I love that. After brunch, we had a stroll up and down Swan St and then enjoyed the rest of our Sunday.

Note: I did not eat again until 4:30pm.

Café 117 on Urbanspoon

  1. BACON ? I found your site while I was looking for cruelty-free makeup and cosmetic brands. Seems like you have a big heart, if animal testing is cruel to you, please educate yourself on the meat industry <3

    1. I do really care about animals and animal rights, so that’s definitely something I want to explore more. For me, it’s important to find a balance between ideals and real life — not saying this as an excuse, but simply because I don’t want to get discouraged from making seemingly small steps, when that’s better than not moving at all. But yes, I do want to educate myself on the meat industry — I’m actually going to a screening of the documentary “Cowspiracy” tomorrow, so perhaps that will be the impetus I need. Appreciate your comment 🙂

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