Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Grain Store, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

The Grain Store felt like a hybrid, part café part mid-range restaurant, combining some of the best elements of both into what was a very nice breakfast experience. Located in a pretty obscure part of the city, down towards the Spencer Street end of Flinders Lane, it had taken quite a while for any of us to make it down here.

It wasn't because we hadn't heard much about it, after all late last year it was very much the it place of the Melbourne café scene.  It's not even if as if we hadn't tried to visit, with one previous unsuccessful attempt just before Christmas resulting in failure when they were closed for lunch that day for some reason I can no longer familiar.  It's just that there are so many fantastic places for brunch around Melbourne that you can't get to places as quickly as you'd like.

Anyway, despite a fairly ordinary exterior The Grain Store has one of the nicest fit outs I've seen.  With its white tables and light grey chairs, colour provided by the pumpkins and assorted sandwiches and cakes at the front, nothing feels overdone but that everything has its place in contributing to the whole.  Picture perfect in a minimalist sort of way.

The menu is impressive, offering an interesting range of slightly unusual dishes.  For example, a smoked salmon omelette and truffle crème fraiche with winter fennel, chipotle romesco salsa, rye crostini and crispy quinoa.  Picture perfect when it arrived at the table, what most impressed me about this dish was not all the accompaniments but the omelette itself.  Light and fluffy, its best feature was the delicately flavoured flaky salmon, a far cry from the normal thin strips provided in most locations.

The other dish tried was a bit out of the ordinary for me, a Portobello mushroom and gruyere potato rosti  with poached eggs, hazelnut hollandaise and sunchoke chips.  While I was a little disappointed in the rosti, which was less crisp than I prefer, the mushrooms themselves had a deliciously meaty texture and flavor, the eggs were perfectly poached (as is the norm in Melbourne) and the sauce rich without being overly heavy.  While it probably wouldn't be the first thing I'd order on a return, that’s more to do with my personal preferences as the dish itself was very nice.

The rage of post breakfast desserts isn't as impressive as some other cafes, but I was intrigued by the notion of a mandarin and mint muffin (Triple MMM).  It didn't look much at the counter but wow, one of the best muffins I've ever had.  Slight crunch on the outside, moist and soft on the inside, the interest combination of flavours complimented each other perfectly.

Very nice place to eat, great service from the staff and some of the best brunch options going around town, what's not to like.  Well, to be honest the serving sizes are not the largest, and the price is a bit higher than most brunch options.  However, if you are in the mood for somewhere just a little more upmarket, The Grain Store is your place.

Food - 9
Service - 8.5
Ambience 8.5
Price - 7

517 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9972 6993

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

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