Even though Melbourne is relatively small, there is always room for a new cafe and also in a new part of the city that I’ve never really explored. The Grain Store had quietly opened up a few months ago. I received an email from The Reading Room to say that they have a new cafe and this time in the CBD. I was immediately excited because Mr Bao and I had enjoyed The Reading Room 🙂
I persuaded Mr Bao to drive me to work and have breakfast with me at The Grain Store, I did my internship in one of the office building close by so I knew my way. The cafe is situated in the quieter side of town, on Flinders Lane between King St and Spencer St. There is ample parking in front of the cafe and conveniently there is a car park underneath and The Grain Store customer get a $5 discount parking on weekends. Which is great because you can park, have brunch and then go shopping without moving your car 🙂
I really like the ambience at The Grain Store, it’s really bright and spacious with a few large communal tables and also smaller tables on the side . I think I could bring my laptop and work here all day long ~
They also had a long bench to the right of the counter which displayed all their pastries and in-house baked goodies such as muffins and cookies.
Mr Bao started off with a magic which is a single origin, I’m sorry I forgot which origin. He described it as quite buttery ending with a floral note. He complimented it that it was a good temperature and not too hot.
My mocha was just as pleasant, had a good chocolate flavour but then ends with delicate coffee taste. I think everyday is a good day if we could start with a nice warm cup of mocha ~
Feeling pretty hungry I ordered the bacon steak and corn fritters. I definitely think bacon steak or thick cut bacon is the new ‘trend’, many cafes now order it on their brunch menu. And I think once you’ve tried it ‘thick’ it’s going to be hard to go back to ‘think’ bacon. I find that it has a lot more flavour and great texture. I was also impressed with the caramelised onion fritters, they were ever so crispy and light with a sweet caramelised onion filling. The pear and cider relish also provided extra sweetness, last but not least can’t think you can go wrong with an egg sunny side up 😀
Mr Bao was being very indecisive and didn’t know what he wanted for breakfast, I suggested the steak but he wanted something different, so instead he ordered the dry cured bacon and cheese with toasty sourdough and decided to add a fried egg to it. He really enjoyed the dry cured bacon saying that it was crispy but preferred the flavour of my thick cut bacon more 😛 I had a bite and really liked the caramelised apple jam, loved the balance between sweet and salty.
I overestimated my appetite early in the morning because I also wanted to order the French Toast, yet we were too full and even Mr Bao said he couldn’t eat any…so I decided to leave desserts for next time. But how could I leave without something sweet? So I grabbed one of their banana and walnut muffins, I love the rustic look, like the muffins I make at home 😀 It was divine, fluffy, light and super moist inside, surprisingly it’s actually quite hard to find decent muffins at cafes nowadays, so I was definitely impressed with this one 😀
Our first visit to The Grain Store was wonderful and I don’t really think I can fault it in any way, I think they’ve done a very good job with the menu offering dishes that are slightly different but still with ingredients that are familiar to customers. A few days later, I still couldn’t get their french toast off my mind and didn’t want to do a post without a dessert as that would be a sin 😛 So we went back hahaha yup twice in a week!
Once again my mocha was just as good as last time, but I found that it was more ‘chocolatey’ the second time, which is always a good thing to me.
This time Mr Bao wanted a flat white instead, which was weaker than this Magic last time, he quite liked it saying that it was light tasting and less floral notes.
This time Mr Bao decided he wanted to steak for breakfast with two sunny side up eggs and also chips on the side. I seriously thought this was a little too much and heavy for breakfast for hey, maybe he wants to try out the paleo diet 😛
The steak was cooked to perfection, mediu rare with the lovely pink colour. We’re not sure which cut they used but we assume it was the sirloin, and had good flavour and quite tender. We thought the chips could have been a little crispier and golden in colour ~
I wanted to have something light and healthy because I wanted to save room for the french toast, so I chose their toasted muesli with quinoa milk. The muesli was a combination of chia, sesame and pumpkin seeds and also some nuts. It was also topped with poached rhubarb and vanilla yoghurt. Melbourne has definitely caught the quinoa bug and it’s now offered in a lot of restaurants and cafes especially in salads, but I’ve never thought that it was possible to make milk out of it. I was very surprised that the quinoa milk was actually very creamy and very nutty but most importantly it tasted like quinoa. I spoke to the waitress and she said, she found the quinoa milk when she recently went on a diet where she had to cut out on dairy products. I think it’s a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant 🙂 For those interested in trying she said that it is available at some selected health food stores ~
Finally got the chance to try the French Toast ~ It’s a different type of french toast with both sweet and salty components. The banana and the whipped mascarpone was the sweet and complimented the french toast very well, but it also had crisp pancetta which was as thin as a potato chip which was the salty component. It also had a peppered caramel that gave the dish a little spice. I found this dish more of a savoury dish than sweet and I think it would’ve been better if it was paired with a sweeter syrup but that’s just me 😛
Another great breakfast, we didn’t think we were going to go back so quickly. Then about a week later, I received an email from The Grain Store and they invited me and 3 friends to their official launch party 🙂 So we went back and brought also invited Yue to come with us ~ It was great to see so many other bloggers there as well, Lianne, Ash, Adrian, Wince, Sophie, Elisa, Allan, Sabrina and many more.
As soon as we walked in we were offered drinks, Mr Bao went for a Shiraz and I chose a 2 Step Cider by Mountain Goat, because I was the designated driver, so couldn’t drink much ~
It was a very relaxed environment and a great chance for us to catch up with everyone 🙂 As it’s hard for us all to catch up at once. Canapes were then offered to us, my favourite would have to be the polenta chips, they were freshly fried and very well seasoned. The grilled chorizo was also spicy and delicious, I don’t eat black sausage but found them to quite nice as they weren’t too gamey.
We were then invited to go into the kitchen to meet Chef Inglo and do a masterclass with him. I’ve seen Chef Inglo a couple of times at The Reading Room and the previous times when we visited, but it was nice to have the chance to meet him officially 🙂 He’s originally from Germany and has worked all around the world and said if he didn’t settle down in Melbourne he would probably live in Switzerland ~
Can you tell what we’re learning from the ingredients? Theres beef, mustard, Worcestershire sauce hehehe it’s STEAK TARTARE! I loved seeing the huge smile on Melissa’s face (Lianne’s Sister in Law) because that’s one of her favourite dishes ~
Chef Inglo made it look so easy to make, buy the highest quality beef you can find, add mix mayonnaise, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon Mustard, Parsley, Capers, Shallots, Olive oil and season with salt and pepper then mix mix mix.
Once it’s done, a generous spoonful is delicately placed on these round brioche bread bases. Because the beef is hand cut it kept its shape better and wasn’t too soft. I actually didn’t know that there were so many ingredients used to make steak tartare, but now I know where all the flavours come from ~ I particularly liked the kick of acidity this one had towards the end.
It was a great party and definitely good to meet and catch up with everyone 🙂 We were also given a little treat box to take home with their homemade chocolate chip cookie and chocolate walnut brownies, sorry I consumed it before taking a photo 😛 The Grain Store is a fantastic new cafe to have brunch in the city, I have enjoyed all three visits and know that they consistently change their menu and have already seen some new dishes that I would love to try ~