Feast of Merit
Walking down Swan St in the heart of Richmond, Feast of Merit could be mistaken for a regular old graffiti adorned, almond milk latte-serving café. Little do passers-by know, Feast is actually a not-for-profit brainchild of the social enterprise Y-Gap (Y-Generation Against Poverty), which aims to inspire social entrepreneurs to end poverty. 100% of Feast’s profits are donated to Y-Gap projects in Rwanda, Cambodia, Ghana and Bangladesh, which educate and improve life quality of locals. Many of the Feast’s staff are volunteers, which is further complemented with donations from suppliers such as St Ali coffee, Hopkins River beef and St David’s Dairy.
Not conceding to the crisp white, rose gold & Scandanavian furniture that we see (and still adore) at most Melbourne café’s, Feast has a much more rustic vibe. Creamy exposed bricks line the large dining area, with deep wooden furniture and fractured cement flooring. Stunning bush posy's fill the coffee counter, and a long chalkboard both welcomes diners and describes “The Story” of feast.
The menu itself is largely Middle Eastern inspired, focusing on local and sustainable producers and seasonality. Raw foods, grains, pulses and ethically sourced meats are all on the menu, for breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings every day of the week.
For something full of spice, try the Shaksouka dish, with tomato, chilli peppers, pulses, legumes, baked eggs, tahini labneh & za’atar (or in our case, GF Precinct toast). This dish ticks all of the breakfast boxes- healthy, warming, flavoursome and stunningly presented.Sweet breakfast lovers will love the gluten-free Fig, cacao, mulberry and hazelnut yousli, house-made coconut yoghurt and seasonal fruits.
Having also had the pleasure of dining at Feast for both lunch and dinner, recommending just a few of them is a serious challenge. Try the Sweet Potato and roasted red onions with cranberries and orange dressing (gluten free) or the Winter Slaw with red and white cabbage, green apples, fennel, garden herbs and harissa dressing (gluten free). If meat-eaters want to add a bit of protein (which is local, sustainable & organic- yes!) to their salad, crisp market fish, Berbere spiced chicken & Cherry Tree Organics lamb are on offer.
Dinner offers a selection of small plates, vegetables, grains & pulses, protein and desert. Small plates-wise, we couldn’t go past the Chickpea chips with tomato jam, Market oysters & Feast pickles, turnips, cauliflower, carrots & radish. The Roasted Sprouts (with chestnut dressing and baharat) were by far our favourite vegetable dish (though the Fried cauliflower is a close second). Protein dishes are more than large enough for 2 to share, so the only decision to make is choosing between organic slow cooked lamb, Berbere spiced Milawa free-range chicken, Chermoula pork belly or Whole-line caught fish. Feast has also recently opened a stunning rooftop bar, to compliment the main dining area downstairs, serving both drinks & a selection of bar snacks.
With the killer combination of superb dining and social enterprise, it’s no wonder Feast of Merit is a favourite of so many!
Feast of Merit is located at 117 Swan St, Richmond and is open 7 days a week, from 7.30am weekdays and 8am weekends.