Thursday, January 30, 2014

East Elevation V

January 24, 2014


East Elevation does terrific brunches, and we've enjoyed a couple of evening events there, so we were well pleased to know that they've extended their hours to dinner on Thursdays and Fridays. They're on the seasonally-responsive bandwagon (a fine wagon it is!) so the menu varies a bit from week to week. It's structured to share, starting with little olive bowls ($4) and working up to larger dishes, including a cheese platter ($21).


The best news is that it's as vegan- and gluten-free-friendly as the brunch menu. Across eleven items, seven had vegetarian (v)s, four had vegan (vg)s, and nine had gluten-free (gf)s. Our waiter suggested that we pick two and maybe order a third if we were still hungry, but with so much on offer we escalated immediately to three.


She didn't mention that we'd also be getting bread! Though it was tempting to use all the butter, I was better served saving my second piece for the extra dressing on the other plates.


For example, with this raw zucchini salad ($13). Though the zucchini itself was raw, the dish was warmed via white beans and 'melted' tomato. Some judicious seasoning and fresh herbs kept this dish lively and the tomato collapsed into the olive oil dressing, fairly begging me to soak it up in the bread.


The squacquerone cheese under these roasted carrots ($14) was surprisingly set and quite mild - I had no problem acquiring my share with a fork!


Mildness is less of a guarantee with Pimentos de Padron - we received nearly a dozen of them in a salt nest with our baked potatoes ($14) and engaged in chilli roulette. I lost, unable even to eat the plain potatoes or cool green sauce for some minutes.


We asked after dessert and, this being the home of Monsieur Truffe, we couldn't leave without trying it. The passionfruit tart (~$9) met our high expectations. There are chocolatey options too, of course, though on this night we satisfied ourselves with watching the chocolate churn next door.


Sadly there are no vegan desserts just now, but they promised that they're working on it. Once that's ticked off, we'll happily give them five stars. We love their relaxed and spacious layout, and the Beck-and-Britpop tunes of that night could have come straight from my own e-device. We've always had pleasant dealings with the staff. The food is as fresh-flavoured as it is brightly hued, and they've a knack for balancing simplicity and sophistication in their desserts.
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You can also read about two brunches and two special night time events we've enjoyed at East Elevation in the past.
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East Elevation
351 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9380 4915
veg dishes $4-21
http://eastelevation.com.au/

Accessibility: Excellent. A ramp on entry, great light, lots of space and spacious individual unisex toilets, at least one of which has disability signage. Ordering happens at the table and payment at a reasonably low counter.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Other Hobart favourites

January 15-20, 2014

With three MOFOs and one dark MOFO under our belts, we've accumulated a few favourite eating spots around Hobart that we look forward to revisiting each year. Here are quick updates on the ones we checked out this summer.
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I made a point of introducing Michael to Mo Mo Bubble Tea & Coffee House, having lunched there during my solo winter trip. It hasn't changed a jot - massive, messy mock meat burgers ($8.90) and sugary fruit teas (from $3.50) are the definite vego highlights. The soy bounty burger had a nifty beefy-mushroom texture, but my loyalty lies with their fake fish.

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Pigeon Hole has changed hands since we last breakfasted there, but we barely noticed. With the vegetarian beans gone there's not a lot to attract vegans, but the eggs en cocotte menu is near identical. Michael liked his tallegio, preserved lemon and lovage version ($12.90), though it was small and he was soon hungry for lunch. The chalkboard menu was completely absent of sweet options (not even muesli!) so I picked out a cheese and spinach calzone from the baked goods on display, and we later shared a cherry pastry. I liked their rustic approach to dough and ate with my hands.

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We hit Chai Vegetarian Cuisine for a late lunch. Their display-box food ($11 per plate, pictured back) was far from its optimal texture by then but the spicy curry still had its appeal. I was glad that I returned for the spicy roll ($5, pictured front) - the faux pork was terrific.


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I have sworn off the Saturday Salamanca Market in favour of Sunday's Farm Gate Market. For late risers like us, it's worth skipping breakfast and feasting on site - I devoured an enormous haloumi burger one-handed while we waited for Michael's tofu burrito and takeaway coffee. The market has definitely grown in the past year and though there are butchers and cheesemongers, vegan options are also plentiful. We made sure to pick up olive oil-based soaps, home-made jams and tea for our house-sitter, a couple of the less-healthy treats from Mrs Rees, and half a kilo of cherries (those were gone within 24 hours).



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While we certainly consumed our fill of food and art in Hobart, we failed to squeeze in faves like Dumpling World, Garagistes and Thai Veggie Hutt. But there's always next summer, right?


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tricycle Cafe

January 20, 2014


We had enough time on our last Hobart morning to wander over to Salamanca and finally visit one of the city's most well-regarded cafes. Tricycle is hidden away a bit down one of Salamanca's little alleyways - they've got a few tables and a sign out on the street, so it's pretty clear where you need to turn in. It's quite small and, on the morning after MOFO finished, quite busy - we were lucky to snag a table and watched a few groups forced to wait.


The menu is pretty straightforward: there's baked eggs, eggs on toast, a breakfast trifle, beans or some toasties as well as two or three rotating specials (on our visit including a huevos rancheros, $16, and a veggie brown rice congee, $11.50). Cindy ordered the third of the specials: organic avocado with goats curd, toasted seeds and greens ($16). As you can see, they didn't skimp on the greens! Somewhere under all those leaves were two pieces of good quality toast, with plenty of avo and cheese spread on top and a sprinkling of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. 

I ordered off the regular menu - tricycle chilli beans with feta, pickle, coriander and sourdough ($14).


I was glad to discover that Tricycle's chilli beans actually packed a bit of a spicy punch. The coriander and tangy pickled onion added a few more layers to the dish, and the salty feta rounded it out well - it's an excellent rendition of a pretty standard cafe brekkie.

Tricycle's a good option for a Hobart brekkie - it's not as fancy as Pilgrim and things all move a bit slower, so make sure you've got a bit of spare time - but the food is fresh and tasty and the menu just varied enough to keep you interested. Vegans will struggle with the basic menu, but both of our dishes could have been easily done sans cheese, and there's a good chance the congee would have done the trick as well.
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There's plenty of positivity about Tricycle among bloggers - see I talk too much my mouth hurts, Tales of a Truffle Pig, Mumma Needs Coffee, Luisa Brimble, spicy icecream, Jeroxie, No Man is an Island, donisbaked, Green Gourmet Giraffe, Many Cha Cha, The Hungry Australian (sponsored), Fig and Walnut and brazencrumpets for enthusiastic reviews, while katiecrackernuts was a bit underwhelmed. 
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Tricycle Cafe

77 Salamanca Place, Hobart (inside Salamanca Arts Centre)
(03) 6223 7228
veg-adaptable breakfasts: $6-$16.50

Accessibility: There are a small number of tables at counter level (with ramp access), but most of the tables are on a raised platform up a handful of stairs. Things are all pretty crowded. Orders are taken at the table and the bill is paid at a low counter inside the shop.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Property of: Pilgrim

January 17-18, 2014


Pilgrim Coffee was one of the highlights of our 2013 visit to Hobart, so we were pretty excited to find out that they'd expanded from a coffee spot with food to a full cafe, Property of: Pilgrim. We were staying nearby and Property of: Pilgrim's opening hours and speedy service made it the perfect place for breakfast - we managed two visits in our five day trip.

Property of: Pilgrim is tucked in behind Pilgrim Coffee with a front door on Liverpool St (the two venues are basically separated by Dumpling World) - they share a kitchen space and are joined at the back, so you can enter via either. The cafe's fit-out is in keeping with the coffee-shop's stylings - exposed bricks, polished wooden floors and a kind of recycled industrial vibe. It's lovely. The menu isn't stacked with vegetarian options - there's a salad of the day, an asparagus and egg dish and a vegan porridge (see below for more details on those last two!). There's also a note that, while they're not big on menu substitutions, they're happy to cater for dietary requirements. The staff were all super friendly, so my advice would be just to drop in and have a chat.

On our first visit we stuck to the standard menu offerings. For me: spring asparagus (roasted asparagus with jerusalem artichoke, slow eggs, persian feta and chamomile, $16).


It's a nicely put together dish - Pilgrim's version of eggs are slow cooked rather than poached and have the perfect texture - soft and smooshy without being too runny. There's a smear of some excellent hummus, a couple of salty dabs of feta and lots of pretty leaves and flowers. Plus enough toast to eat everything with!

Cindy sampled the one vegan dish on the menu, coconut tapioca porridge (warm coconut tapioca, passionfruit, spiced pineapple syrup and black sesame snap, $14).


She was very, very impressed by this, delighting in the freeze-dried syrupy ginger chunks of pineapple and nutty black sesame snaps, it rocketed towards the top of tapioca-based-breakfast ranking (overtaking even East Elevation's excellent effort).

On our return trip I had the hipster breakfast minus the bacon: slow eggs, mushrooms, black beans, greens and sour dough ($18).


Even without the bacon this was a ridiculously large meal. Luckily it was also delicious, so I managed to get through it all. The star was the beans - cooked in a slightly spicy tomato sauce - although the kale and mushroom fry-up was pretty great as well. I may have received bonus beans in place of the bacon, but don't order this unless you're hungry.

Property of: Pilgrim offers up another breakfast dish almost perfectly attuned to Cindy's taste: single origin cocoa waffles with salted caramel, fresh bananas and hazelnut cream ($14).


The waffles had a deep cocoa flavour without the butteriness of chocolate; this richness came from the cream and the salty caramel sauce that tied it all together.

Property of: Pilgrim is a brilliant addition to Hobart's breakfast range - an interesting menu with a handful of great vegetarian dishes and a vegan porridge that rivals Melbourne's best. The service is friendly and efficient and the food and coffee came out super quickly. We also had no problems getting a table on either of our two visits (admittedly quite early). Pilgrim are mad about coffee too, and I made quite a few other visits to grab takeaways - I'd say it's the best in Hobart, but I don't really go anywhere else.
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You can also read about our pre-renovation trip to Pilgrim here. I talk too much my mouth hurts, Two Clowns Tripping, petit pixel design, Rita's Bite, Living and Loving in Hobart and Lynn Toh all love the current iteration of Pilgrim. 
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Property of Pilgrim

52 Liverpool St, Hobart (you can also enter via Pilgrim Coffee on 48 Argyle St)
(03) 6234 1999
veg-adaptable breakfasts: $10-18
facebook page

Accessibility: Excellent - there's a flat entryway and the interior is relatively spacious (although some of the tables have weird fixed flip-up seats (from an old cinema I guess) that are a bit tricky to get in and out of. Orders are taken at the table and payment happens at a low counter. Toilets are fully accessible, including a unisex disabled cubicle.
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kopitiam Singapore Cafe

January 16, 2014


On our first evening back in Hobart we strolled along Collins St and spotted a cafe (signed Kopitiam!) that hadn't been there before. I burbled about kaya toast and teh tarik as we approached the menu and I'm sure my face fell when I didn't read them on the menu. However we found something more broadly exciting: a full page dedicated to vegetarian meals, eight noodle, curry and rice dishes featuring mock meat! We made sure to stop in for lunch the next day, since they shut at 7pm.

Beyond the vegetarian heading, dietary requirements require a bit of sleuthing and the menu recommends that diners consult with the staff. Given that each dish is made to order, we reckon they'd be able to skip eggs and substitute rice noodles as required.


Kopitiam's mock stocks proved to be running low so my Singapore Nasi Goreng ($13.90) was dotted with chicken rather than BBQ pork pieces. The finely diced mixed vegetables were pretty tired (possibly frozen?) but the rice had a nice char and the crunchy fried shallots on top boosted the flavour.


There was a little more mock chicken in the Stir Fry Singapore Curry Mee ($13.90), though this dish was dominated by thick doughy egg noodles in a warmly spiced gravy.


But the best was yet to come. I convinced Michael to stick around a little longer while I ordered a Singapore Ice Kacang ($5.50) for dessert. It was a gaudy, icy treat - shot with sugary syrups, seams of coconut milk and topped sweet corn.


As I mined deeper I was rewarded with peach slices, red beans, tapioca pearls and grass jelly. It's a dreamy sundae for when a heatwave hits.


Hobart's got a surprising abundance of mock meat lunch spots in the city, and it's cool to see these veg options sitting on an omni menu at Kopitiam. But it's the ice kacang and not the novelty protein that'll draw me back next time I'm in town.

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Kopitiam Singapore Cafe
86 Collins St, Hobart
0450 588 761
veg dishes $13.90
facebook page

Accessibility: Kopitiam has one step up on entry and is quite spacious inside. We ordered and paid at a high counter, then food was brought to our table. Toilets are gender-segregated and located down half a dozen stairs.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ethos Eat Drink II

January 15, 2014


Michael and I were drawn to MONA FOMA for the third consecutive year, and managed to fit a little Hobart dining around all the aaaaaart. We had extra time for dinner on our first night and decided to spend it at Ethos.


Ethos has evolved a little since our last visit. It hasn't backed off on its upcycled, home-grown, local, seasonal M.O.; actually it's stronger than ever with an edible garden replacing the outdoor seating we'd previously known.


When we first inspected their menu a couple of years ago they were offering shared plates but now Ethos have shifted entirely to a degustation-style menu of six ($70pp) or eight ($90pp) courses. They offer a list of their latest favourite ingredients so you can eliminate anything you can't or won't eat, then they make up the rest from there.


We hadn't booked a table, since our plan was simply to wander in early on a weeknight and share a couple of dishes, but the staff hinted that they prefer reservations and warnings about special dietary requirements. Nevertheless, they put together a lovely banquet for us.

potato crisps & creme fraiche

a negroni (left) and a cocktail of passionfruit, mint, lime & rum ($18ea)

cauliflower & asparagus compressed with olive oil 
plus puffed rice & a preserved lemon dressing

almond milk & garlic sauce, slow roasted almonds, black garlic, 
radishes, borage flowers

carrots (roasted, fresh & pickled in chardonnay vinegar & caraway seeds)
on a carrot purée with toasted breadcrumbs, Angelica flowers & garlic

roasted, fresh and pickled parsnips, 
daikon radish pickled in rice wine vinegar & coriander seed, 
roasted butternut pumpkin & summer greens with a miso sauce

pickled hen egg, kohlrabi sous vide, courgette sautéed on one side, 
raw golden peas, baby basil, labne, and pickled rhubarb

apricots in mirin, nectarines in gin, plums in more unidentified alcohol, 
rhubarb champagne jelly, brown butter shortbread, 
rum parfait & black sesame meringue

Everything tasted as good as it looks here, and we couldn't help noticing that a lot of it was vegan. The Ethos chefs are clearly having a pickling frenzy, and though we enjoyed most of their preserved veges we were overwhelmed by vinegar flavours as the savoury courses concluded. They definitely won us back with dessert, a boozy shared hodge-podge of stonefruit, icecream, jelly and shortbread.

Ethos' dinner set-up has shifted a good deal closer to Garagistes' in the past year, and thankfully the restaurant hasn't lost any of its past charms in the process.
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You can read about our dinner at Ethos a year ago here. Since then their vegetarian options have got the tick on Veggies and Me, and the omni menu has been covered by Gluten Free Gourmet Traveller, FeedMeUpScotty and Two Clowns Tripping. However, Lynnnnn wasn't into it.

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Ethos Eat Drink
100 Elizabeth St, Hobart
6231 1165
six courses $70pp, eight courses $90pp
http://ethoseatdrink.com/


Accessibility: Looks great to my eyes - flat all the way through with relatively spacious tables and full table service. There's a disability-access toilet and all toilets are unisex.
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Vanilla peach frozen yoghurt

January 13-14, 2014


Four of Michael's aunts and uncles flew to Melbourne for a scorching few days of tennis, and we made sure to have them over for a meal in our chilled-out air-conditioned flat. Michael put on a summery Mexican-inspired spread of refried beans, tofu chicharrones, corn salad, tortillas and fresh veges, and I churned up this vanilla peach frozen yoghurt.

It's a surprisingly simple formula from the often-more-convoluted David Lebovitz. This time it was me complicating things, adding in orange essence, vanilla and a pinch of salt where Lebovitz listed only a simple dash of lemon juice. Thankfully I managed not to detract from the key feature: a bag of white peaches. You can see that they don't add much to the colour of this dessert, but I promise that they lend plenty of flavour.

The yoghurt is definitely secondary to the fruit - this comes off as equal parts refreshing sorbet and creamy dairy-based dessert. I'd love to try making it with coconut yoghurt as a vegan alternative.





Vanilla peach frozen yoghurt
(adapted slightly from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)


700g (about 5) ripe peaches
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup natural yoghurt
a few drops of lemon juice
a few drops of orange essence (optional)
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Slice the peaches into quarters, remove them from their stones, and peel off their skins. Chop the peaches into chunks and place them in a large saucepan. Pour in the water and place the saucepan on medium heat, covering it with a lid. Cook the peaches until tender, about 10 minutes, removing the lid occasionally to stir them. Take the peaches off the heat, stir in the sugar (it should dissolve rapidly) and refigerate the peaches overnight.

The next day, transfer the peaches to a food processor and add in the yoghurt. Whizz the mixture until it's well mixed and mostly smooth. Add the lemon juice, orange essence, salt and vanilla, whizz again, taste and adjust the flavour as you like it.

Churn the mixture in an icecream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lemon & blueberry loaf

January 11-12, 2014


Last weekend we had another sewing day with Bec and Clamps - Michael made an entire shirt, and Bec and I now have a pretty cool retro dress in the works. Bec prepared bread, Clamps fried seitan, and they put us in charge of snacks. So Michael and I collected shiny vegan treats from the Korean grocers surrounding the Queen Victoria Markets, then delved inside for some cheapish blueberries and lemons.

The blueberries and lemons were for this loaf cake, from Isa Does It. It's a simple one bowl job, and I trialled a couple of tweaks to make it simpler still for my kitchen (all successful!). It took a little less time than expected to bake through, and you can see above that the crust split, which I actually quite like. On top is a simple, runny glaze of vanilla, lemon juice and icing sugar (if you're not keen on those little flecks of white above, sifting the icing sugar should fix that right up). Isa Chandra Moskowitz deems it optional, but if you like a strong lemony flavour in your sweets I'd strongly recommend going for the glaze.

Even if you do skip it, you can be sure of moist, cakey loaf - I had to slice mine thickly to avoid the cake crumbling under the knife. Bec spread her first piece with margarine, and Clamps served one later with a spoonful of coconut yoghurt on top, but I liked this loaf very much on its own.



Lemon and blueberry loaf
(very slightly adapted from from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Isa Does It)

cake
2/3 cup soymilk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries

glaze
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat an oven to 180°C and line a loaf tin with paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon juice and zest. Add the oil, sugar and vanilla and whisk some more. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring everything together to form a smooth batter. Fold in the blueberries.

Spray the papered loaf tin with a little oil and pour in the batter, smoothing over the top. Bake the loaf for 45-60 minutes, until it's golden brown on top and a skewer through the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then outside the tin for at least an hour.

To make the glaze, whisk together the ingredients and spoon or pour them over the cake. The glaze is very runny, so I picked my spots, dribbled the glaze slowly, and allowed some of it to pool in the baking paper. Allow the glaze to cool and set a little before serving.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mankoushe Bakery III

January 11, 2014


We've been regular customers at Mankoushe since the Lebanese bakery opened on Lygon St three-and-a-bit years ago. Co-owner Jad always recognises us and takes a moment to say hi; somewhere along the line he figured out that we're those vego bloggers. We've consistently and happily paid our own way during our frequent visits but recently accepted an invitation to try some of their new bakery menu on the house. So take this rare freebie post in that context.

We took a seat out back where it's shady, it's a little easier to talk over the soundtrack of Leonard Cohen and Zeppelin, and I could have a peek at their herb garden. The menu's a good one for veg*ns - classics such as the herb bread ($3), my beloved haloumi pie ($5.50) and Michael's favourite falafel wrap ($8.50) are still available and there's a new section of eight fancier vegetarian pizzas that nudge into double-digit prices. Vegan options get a (v) and cover almost half of the vegetarian menu. Spelt flour dough is available on request, but the bakery's probably best avoided by those eschewing gluten entirely.


There's also a salad ($7) and a dip ($6-9) on the menu; they'll shift around depending on what fresh produce takes the Choucair brothers' fancy each fortnight. We loved this summery green salad with mint, pomegranate seeds and flaked almonds.


As for the the pizzas, we first chose the fitir ($10), spread with tomato sauce and dotted with plump garlic mushrooms, baked to a crisp and then topped with dollops of chilli labneh and fresh mint leaves.


The earthy vegan-friendly laktin ($11) was just as lovely - instead of tomato the base has a charred oregano-sesame layer, generous chunks of cinnamon pumpkin and is finished with finely shredded fresh cabbage and a dizzle of pomegranate molasses. (In this picture you'll also spot the herby sweet potato dip currently on rotation.)


Jad insisted on packing us off with some dessert. He explained that this cinnamon semolina pudding ($7) is traditionally made to celebrate the birth of a child. It's surprisingly smooth and velvety, deeply spiced and topped with almonds, sultanas and dessicated coconut.

Mankoushe has built its reputation on its wood-fired oven and Lebanese heritage (not to mention their love for Bob Dylan at top volume!), and they're developing a wonderful, seasonally responsive way with fresh local ingredients. Without a doubt, we'll be back to try the other six new veg options out of our own pocket. 

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You can also read our previous Mankoushe Bakery (one, two) and Cafe (one, two) posts. Since my last collation I haven't spotted any new blog posts about either venue.
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Mankoushe Bakery
323 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9078 9223
veg items $5-14.50

Accessibility: There's a small step up through a narrow-ish entry and a bit of space in the front room. Toilets and courtyard are accessed via a couple of steps and a narrow, bricked path. We usually order and pay at a low counter.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Grain Store

January 11, 2014


Our only task for Saturday was a trip to the markets and, with our go-to brekkie options Elceed and Twenty & Six Espresso both on summer break, we branched out into the CBD to sample The Grain Store. I'd seen the odd mention of this place suggesting it would be a solid veg-friendly brunch choice, but it turns out The Grain Store is one of the most hyped cafes in town (check out the link round-up at the bottom of this post). Luckily, everyone was still at the beach on the weekend, so there was no queuing for tables or feeling pressure to eat quickly and get out.


It's an oddly sterile space - in some ways reminding me of a cafe in a business hotel (the dreadful music being piped over the speakers probably contributed to this impression). The service was slightly stiff and formal as well, taking the whole experience a bit further away from the casual brunch I was expecting. The menu is fascinating, especially in terms of sweets. A couple of examples: you can try a summer fruit cocktail with golden flax seed dukkah, agave nectar buttermilk, watermelon mouse and rooftop chocolate mint ($13) or cottage pancakes with passionfruit, almond butter, berry and pistachio smoothie, strawberry puree and honeycomb streusel ($17). It's generally quite vegetarian friendly and there's one clearly labelled vegan dish (cauliflower, quinoa and goji berries with pumpkin hummus, celeriac and nigella seeds, $17). I got the feeling a couple of the other dishes would be veganisable too, although we didn't confirm it.

We stuck with the non-vegan menu options. For Cindy, buttermilk French toast and poached peach with peppered caramel, lemon curd, sweet basil and oreo crumble ($17).


This was basically fine-dining for breakfast - there were little splotches of sweet basil, a line of oreo crumble and a bit swirl of peppered caramel. It was all very well executed (especially the lemon curd) and the creativity and thought behind it is impressive, but there was something a bit fussy about it as a breakfast.

My meal was a bit more straightforward: portobello mushrooms with a raclette potato rösti, poached eggs and a hazelnut hollandaise ($18).


These guys really know how to poach an egg - they were both at just the right level of ooze. The mushrooms were excellent as well and the creamy hazelnut hollandaise was a nice variation on a standard breakfast sauce. The rösti was a bit of a letdown though, quite small and a bit undercooked for my tastes.


It's easy to see why The Grain Store has built such a big following so quickly - they do a range of fancy, innovative brunches, with great coffee in a light high-ceilinged space. There was something about the whole experience that left Cindy and I a little flat though - I guess we're just not that up for high-end dining at breakfast time, preferring a more casual brunch experience. Still, The Grain Store wins points for having an impressive array of veggie dishes, being open in the CBD on the weekend and staying on top of dietary requirements (gluten-free options are widespread). Also: the little sweets on the way out looked incredible.
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For a place that's barely been open six months, The Grain Store has been visited by a ridiculous number of bloggers.  The World Loves Melbourne, The City Gourmand, Gourmanda, Something Green, I Am Famished, Foodie About Town, dumpling love, Gluttony Gluttony, de-brief me, Sarah Cooks, Fig And Walnut (twice), The Hungry Excavator, confessions of a little piggy, thehangrybitch, Sweet and Sour Fork, Going with the Grain, Adventures of a Melbourne Girl, In Scout's Honour, Laws of the Kitchen, Yellow Eggs, Skinny Glutton, amystownIchigo Shortcake, The Honesty Path, Dammit Janet I Love Food, Melbourne Delicatesses, MEL: HOT OR NOT, Thought 4 Food, Deconstructing Comestibles, A Sheepish Flog, The Epicurean of Southbank, The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua, grazing panda, Gourmet Chick, The Owl's Nest, Peanut Butter Jelly, Gastronomical ramblings, Mr & Ms, The Food Society, TALES OF A CONFECTIONIST, A Swoonful of Sugar, Wandering Mint, Never Too Sweet and Lucy likes food were all pretty impressed, while Pigging out around the world, Mango Macarons, lunchosaurus, The Melbournian Palate, Foodies Review, Tried and Bested, Caramel Love, Clekitty Bites and eleia-c didn't think it measured up to the hype.
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The Grain Store
517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
9972 6993 
veggie breakfasts $12-$23

Accessibility: There's a ramped entryway into a well lit and pretty spacious interior. There's full table service. We didn't visit the toilets.