In the midst of my rural GP placement in Mildura, the Easter holidays arose, giving me an excellent opportunity to come back to Melbourne, meet up with one of my favourite people and do one of my favourite things - brunch.
My lovely companion suggested The Grain Store - I had already drooled over the menu online, with great delight that it had options for awkward dietary-requirement types.
I was more impressed still when I arrived to find one of the most aesthetically pleasing cafes in all of Melbourne - very much on a par with those in well-heeled parts of London.
The staff were also very patient with me and my awkward enquiries about what could and couldn’t be adapted from the menu, including suggesting a build-your-own from the toast + sides menu.
In the end I opted for the default vegan/GF item, currently listed as “Vegan cauliflower, quinoa & amaranth pops - roasted pumpkin hummus, goji berries, parsnip crisps, nigella seeds”. I think this has changed since April, however, as I had beetroot and endive rather than parsnip.
This was a spectacular and pretty dish. A marvellous combination of textures and tastes, from the velvety-smooth and sweet pumpkin hummus to the crunchy, savoury quinoa and amaranth, to the chewy and tart goji berries. I wouldn’t have thought of using goji berries in a largely savoury context, but it’s an idea worth using in other iterations.
The Grain Store has had its fair share of attention and positive reviews. Indeed, when I tried to go for coffee a few Sundays ago it was packed and we faced a 30 minute wait. All I can say is that it is worth a visit - there is surely something for everyone to enjoy, in civilised surroundings - just perhaps try to go on a weekday.