By Jo Rittey


Everyone likes being in on a secret, right? And, well, a secret squirrel? How thrilling.


The story behind the wonderful name is that the site was formerly a florist shop called Iris that served dumplings and coffee out the back. The florist has gone and the menu has expanded, and Iris and the Secret Squirrel have been a firm local favourite for a long time.


This is cheap and cheerful food. Good, dependable tucker. There are Asian influenced dishes sitting happily alongside quite a few dishes that would appeal to the health-conscious; quinoa brown rice porridge, a chicken salad with quinoa, brown rice, apple and fennel slaw, bean shoots, fetta and pesto, as well as some very tasty looking burgers and rolls. They were originally known for their dumplings and these still feature alongside the all day breakfast, , salads and squirrel snacks. Choose between pork and cabbage, chicken and lemongrass, pork and prawn or shitake and tofu. Or maybe the hangover broth with egg noodles, fried dumplings, tofu and a fried egg is more up your alley.


Speaking of alleys, this place has a long, narrow alley leading back to a very sunny brick walled and succulent filled courtyard area. It feels as though you’re in someone’s backyard. Cool. The service feels like that too. I couldn’t have looked more girly in my pink floral dress but the whole ordering and table delivery transaction was punctuated with numerous, ‘mates.’ “Sorry, mate, we don’t have fruit toast today,” through to, “here’s your coffee, mate.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against that at all. It’s all part of its casual, neighbourhood charm.


Coffee Supreme is made well for those who need coffee or there is a selection of tea, a couple of juices and smoothies.


Spring is here, so make the most of the gentle sun on your winter skin out the back of Iris and the Secret Squirrel.


223 Swan Street, Richmond


Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm

Sat – Sun 8 am – 4pm




Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders.

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