The first impression you might have when you push open the glass door of Touchwood is that of its sheer size. Then you notice the spacious adjoining back room through the wide, brick archway. Then you discover the sunny, open courtyard out the back with 40 more seats.
Set up in the old Blueprint furniture showroom – retaining the endearing archways, lofty ceilings and enormous front glass windows that generously welcomes in light – the 120-seat cafe would lead you to think that whoever’s running this place isn’t really partial to small steps.
You’d be right. It’s a rather formidable tangle of young cafe guns running the show here. There’s dream team Matt Vero and Steve Rowley, the partners behind Coin Laundry (since sold), Station Street Trading Co. and most recently Tall Timber in Prahran. Also joining the pack are the two brothers behind long-time favourite Pillar of Salt, Kael and Matt Sahely, along with their recent in-law Jamie McBride.
The interior fit-out by Therefore Studio is elegant and with restraint. Clean, white brick (so new you can faintly smell the paint), a theme of pale woodwork, and plenty of greenery – from the neatly potted succulents to the planter boxes bursting forth with eager spring herbs and soon, tomatoes – fills the space.
Chef Tristan White’s (ex-Red Door and Ladro) breakfast menu takes the classics and amps them up about three levels, with every aspect of the dish creatively considered. There’s also the peanut butter and jelly wholemeal waffles with a peanut butter ricotta and peanut brittle that has a fierce following stamped all over it. The lunch menu couldn’t be more finetuned to popular eating trends, featuring Wagyu burgers in brioche, pulled pork tacos and po’ boys with slaw.
Coffee is by 5 Senses (done any way you can imagine it) and is pulled from an impressive custom-made Synesso Hydra with a mean-looking matte black finish. You need something a little menacing when you’re facing 120 customers in need of caffeine.