Don’t Look Back

Pillar of Salt

541 Church St, Richmond

Pastries

He Says
Now we’ve visited some oddly named establishments before, but the name Pillar of Salt is particularly unusual, and by name alone, it could be dangerously inedible. After some good old fashion googling, Wikipedia informed me that it’s either a reference to Lot’s wife from the Biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the text on the first illuminated road sign in Britain. Not wanting to turn into a Pillar of Salt like Lot’s wife, I’m now going to be a little more cautious about this review.

Peculiar name aside, Pillar of Salt is aesthetically pleasing, nestled in a tiny corner store filled with as many exposed light globes and enticing pastry cabinets as one diner could ever need. We had the delight of sitting up at the bar, overlooking the street, so we had full view of the ever increasing queue of eager patrons. The atmosphere inside was ho-chi-minh-city-traffic hectic, with waiters and people almost running into each other everywhere. Although they kept on refilling our water, the service was obviously a little stretched; our meal arrived with no cutlery, and I had to flag somebody down.

I’d love to go back to Pillar of Salt when it was a little less chaotic. The courtyard area looks fantastic, and the pastry cabinet looks as tempting as the forbidden fruit.

Open air coffeeing

She Says
I’d heard good things about Pillar of Salt, especially about the desserts and pastries. For some reason I didn’t actually try any of the pastries, they did look amazing though so I think I’ll have to go back.

Pillar of Salt is on a non-descript corner of Church Street down in a corner that I don’t normally associate with anything other than giant furniture stores, definitely not the first place I’d go looking for a cafe. Maybe that’s part of the reason that this place was completely packed though, it’s got to be the best cafe within walking distance. The fit out is nice, all exposed brick, repurposed light fittings and big communal tables. As Gerard mentioned though on the Sunday morning that we visited it was hectic. Really hectic, you couldn’t walk anywhere and getting the attention of a waiter was a struggle. The courtyard out the back (from what I could see through the jungle of people) looked great though.

The food was good, my meal looked amazing, but probably didn’t not quite as good as I expected. I’ll be back though, even if just to try something sweet.

We Ate
Gerard had the Pillar of Salt burger with lamb burger, feta, red onion and lettuce ($17). He thought it was a good burger, but was very disappointed by how small it was. He called it a miniature burger. He has a rule that if you can count the number of chips that come with a burger you’re doing it wrong. Time for people to play along at home and see if you can count the 6 (artfully arranged) chips on this plate.

Lamb burger

I had the daily tart – this time beetroot and goat’s cheese – with greens and leaves ($12). It was pretty good but the beetroot wasn’t as delicious as I hoped it would be. Pretty good value lunch though.

Daily tart

Final word
Popular for a reason, be prepared to queue. Good value, but you will be left with room for dessert. Looking at the desserts, that may be a good thing.

Pillar of Salt on Urbanspoon

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