Ducks with a side of Dukkah

Rivers Café and Providore
28 Kurrak Road Yarrambat

The first time Hubbie and I went into Rivers of Yarrambat was because we were looking for plants. Hubbie used to drive by it on his way home from work, and noticed signs alerting to the fact that it was a nursery. Upon going there a couple of times and falling in love with the interesting variety of flora, along with the beautiful homewares shop housed there, we also noticed there was a café on the side of the premises.

Then we started going to Rivers: more for the café, than the nursery.

I have been to Rivers Café and Providore many, many times since. It was the first café/eatery we went to after having our daughter, in those early days where I was scared to leave the house in fear she would cause a scene and in embarrassment I wouldn’t know how in the world to settle her, while simultaneously feeling like if I didn’t leave the house I might die of cabin fever. I now know that’s a thing, a REAL thing.

I’ve been there for coffee, I’ve been there for scones. I’ve been there for brekkie, brunch, lunch, dessert and everything in between. I would have been there for dinner if they catered for it, and the only thing I haven’t had there is the high tea: that I WILL most definitely do sometime in the near future.

So I guess this is a bit of a prelude to this review: in writing of my most recent visit there I feel it would be slightly unfair to solely score it on this one experience, being that during this one my brunch friend was not too enthusiastic about her meal, yet every other time and with every other person, it’s been fairly consistently fantastic.

Being early Winter, it was actually fairly lovely weather as we arrived, and upon waiting to be seated were offered either to eat outside in the covered dining area overlooking the nursery grounds and ducks swimming about in the pond, or inside. I wanted to sit outside for my friend to get a better experience of her visit, but she was cold, so that kind of made up our minds fairly quickly.

Something I have to mention here is that most times when I’ve gone there to eat, when a waiter has gone to sit us they’ve usually asked if we have a booking. Every time, we reply “no,” however every time they still manage to sit us, no matter how busy they are.

On this day, they were very quiet. You’d probably think that going on a weekday would usually present you with a fairly deserted restaurant. When we went, although quiet, there were a few large groups of ‘Mums with Bubs,’ prams everywhere, to the point that you wouldn’t be mistaken to wonder if Wednesday’s were a special day for those maternally inclined to step out and get a free babycino for their littlies or something.

On other days, you’d think it was a special Pensioners day. This place attracts all kinds of people, but generally more of the nicer-dressed, upper-class variety, if you know what I mean. The kind that are more inclined to tip.

I ordered The Moroccan – poached eggs on grilled flatbread with feta and dukkah

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while my friend ordered the Rivers Berry Crepes

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I really enjoyed my meal: it was to the same standard of every meal I’ve had there. The produce is fresh, and you get excited just looking at the adjoining garden to the café, wondering how much of it gets into the kitchen. Some part of the menu is seasonal, so there are always a few new additions and interesting combos popping up to make the dining experience lovely. My eggs were poached perfectly, the warm flatbread was beautiful, while the lemon and pepper gave a zest and flavour exactly as it stated it would in the menu, so what I ordered was exactly what I got. The dukkah gave a lovely crunch, however though I love sesame seeds it got a bit much to me towards the end and I shoved the remainder to the side to keep them from getting stuck in my teeth. All in all, really yummy, and very presentable.

My friend wasn’t a fan of hers. I think I would have liked it, in defence of Rivers; she’s recently back home from the States, and said her berries were too sour – she’s used to her berries “sherbet.” LOL. Enough said.

The waitress who picked up our plates on completion did ask if anything had been wrong with my friend’s meal, and it proved again to me how polite and keen the staff there are to right any wrongs and make sure the customers always leave happy.

As usual I ordered my coffee as our meals arrived, and it was great. They use Dukes there, which I love, and although when I first sipped it there was a bit of a different taste to it, it faded away quickly and I enjoyed the rest of my lukewarm coffee (I’d been busy scoffing my eggs on flatbread).

I’m going to try and generalise my scores based on all my visits there, so here goes.

Food: 9.5/10. Fantastic, as usual. Fresh, seasonal, and appearance-wise, very attractive as far as food goes.

Coffee: 9/10. Dukes, what else is there to say?

Ambience: Generally, fairly mellow, even when it’s busy it doesn’t get very loud or raucous; the only ones making the noise there are the kids getting hyper on their babycinos, and that’s if you get a massive group of pram-pushers like we did. Normal café noise I guess.

Staff: Always aiming to please, very smiley. On a previous occasion I ordered a very weak flat white for my Mum; the waitress came to check if the strength was appropriate, adding that she could bring extra milk if required. Tick and Tick.

People: Of the ‘nice’ variety. You won’t catch a horde of uni students here, unless they’re dining with their parents. There’s still a very relaxed vibe. Laid-back country style mixed with $$$.

Price: Speaking of the dosh. It’s a few dollars more than some other places you may go to grab brekkie, or lunch, or dessert. Having said that, with the presentation, quality of food on offer, surroundings and the service, it’s definitely worth it.

Advice: If it’s a lovely day and you want to eat with a view or you wish to dine there on a public holiday, maybe best to phone ahead. Yes, they are open on public holidays. Funnily enough, it appears they’re open bar a few select days a year, which makes it so much more hilarious that they don’t do dinner. I guess they need a break somewhere, right?

Oh yeah, and you berry eaters? They’re sour, because they’re fresh. On a previous visit Hubbie had the same crepes as my friend did and also didn’t like the sourness. Fuss pots ;P

In a nutshell: I’ve been going back for years now, so there really isn’t any question, sour berries or not.

Rivers Cafe on Urbanspoon

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