When we can resist the siren-song of Wide Open Road, Cindy and I are gradually working our way through the cafes of our new(ish) neighbourhood. On the weekend we finally hit up the Brunswick Foodstore, which used to be Toby’s Estate but seems to have changed hands and modus operandi a couple of years ago. They still use TE coffee beans, but otherwise it seems to be a quite separate entity.
It’s a big, spacious room, with some neat engineering diagrams covering a few surfaces, high ceilings and light streaming in through the front windows. The menu takes a Middle Eastern approach to breakfast – there’s a manoushe on the menu, eggs come with babaganoush or zaatar and muesli with orange blossom. There a handful of vegetarian dishes, but vegans are seemingly limited to the foul mudammas ($13.50), about which more in a minute.
The two coffees I had were both excellent, strong but not bitter. Early on a Sunday morning there was a pretty high ratio of staff to customers, so we were well looked after – food and coffee were speedy and the service was friendly.
Cindy’s love affair with rosewater is strong, so I wasn’t surprised when she ordered the buttermilk pancakes with pistachio, rosewater, raspberries, vanilla icecream and rosewater syrup ($15.50).
Cindy was broadly positive about the pancakes themselves, but wasn't thrilled about icecream for brekkie or the tiny portion of fruit. It was the rosewater in the syrup that kept her interested the whole way through.
I wavered over the poached eggs with babaganoush for a while, but eventually settled on the foul mudammas (boiled broad beans seasoned with garlic, lemon, olive oil and served with warm pita bread, $13.50).
This turned out to be the perfect meal for me, putting back some of the energy that Friday and Saturday's ridiculous Trailwalker exertions had taken out of me. The seasonings were generous with slatherings of olive oil and punchy garlic flavour bursting through. I scooped up most of it with the fresh and warm pita bread and then scarfed the rest down with a spoon - it's deceptively filling. Value-for-money wise it can't beat the foul medames at Half Moon Cafe, but it's one of the more affordable Brunswick brekkies around.
Brunswick Foodstore is a solid option in the neighbourhood, although I'm not quite sure what it's niche is - Green Refectory has the cheap brekkie down pat, while Code Black and Wide Open Road have fancier vegan-friendly menus. If you're after a heaping bowl of tasty beans though, then this is the place to be.
There are a handful of mostly positive reviews of the Brunswick Foodstore out there - see Hannah MacDougall, Chomp and Slurp, Yosie's Journey of Food, Night Owl, melbourne's guinea pig, Good 44, dining nirvana and heart named desire, while At Your Cafe was much less impressed.
The Brunswick Foodstore29 Weston St, Brunswick
menu: breakfast, lunch
Accessibility: There's a small step on entry into a flat and spacious interior. The toilets are through a big sliding door and up a half step, with large cubicles. We ordered at the table and paid at a low counter.