A touch of class
Duchess gets rave reviews
OWNER and front of house Al Dwyer and chef Jo Richards are sisters and have been in and around the restaurant industry since their childhood at the Richmond Arms.
After a 12- month renovation and refurbishment of the beautiful old garden cottage next to The Metz, which included installing a street- level lift for the disabled, they opened The Duchess, on March 1, as their first solo venture.
And they have been busy ever since, with an already established and constantly morphing clientele of trendy couples, mums, businesspeople, retirees and solos enjoying a coffee and buttermilk scones with their paper.
Which comes as no surprise, for they have distilled their experience into creating a venue where every detail appears perfectly tailored to their market – from the bright, modern decor, huge wall mirrors and entrance chandelier to the garden settings, the small but carefully chosen and well- priced wine list, the cakes, coffee and service to a contemporary menu where every dish sings refi nement, freshness and flavour.
If you want fish ’ n’ chips, or a slab of steak, don’t come here.
Instead, expect breakfast items like crunchy house- made granola with syrup- poached winter fruits; thick apple, date and walnut toast with delicious whipped honey butter; or a softly poached egg with avocado, roasted tomato and goat’s cheese, the dish lifted and lightened by the fresh, fruity flavours of mild red chilli, lemon, mint and pea tendrils.
It was all so good I returned for lunch, when I was again impressed by Richards’ inspired use of flavoured oils, dressings and glazes, fresh herbs, spices and nuts in such things as minted labne, whipped feta and dukkah and quinoa tabouli to lift her dishes above the ordinary to wonderful deliciousness.
Reading the menu again now, I see you can also have “French fries with Mum’s chutney”.
All- day breakfast $ 6.50 to $ 19.50; Lunch $ 11.50 to $ 16.50; kids’ menu $ 4 to $ 8.50