Move over Hardware Societe, there’s a new brunch sensation in town! Having missed the launch party due to being out of town (for three weeks. For unpaid placements.), I was extremely keen to visit once it became apparently that The Grain Store was the hot new thing in Melbourne.
Not having made a reservation, we came in at 1pm on a Wednesday to find the restaurant in full swing, and a half hour wait. Regardless of that, Daniel and I loitered around, trying to decide on what to eat, and was eventually seated, right by the small wine bar, just before 1:30.
Owned by the lovely people behind the recently-opened Hero, The Grain Store, bright and cosy, is a breath of fresh air up the Southern Cross end of the CBD. It caters busy office workers with wholesome but exciting lunches, as well as coffees and sweet treats. I imagine the selection of wines is part of what makes this a popular lunch destination.
|Free Range Pork Belly Sandwich ($20)|
I hadn’t realised that all day brunch was only available on weekends, so it was with distinct resentment that I settled for the Free Range Pork Belly Sandwich ($20). Said resentment disappeared the moment I laid eyes on the sandwich. It was a massive sculpture, crowned with two slabs of pork belly that fell apart under my fork. The flavours in this was extremely well thought out, the bright pickled cabbage and fruity marmalade giving balance to the fatty pork and crackling. The Indian-inspired spiced cauliflower added an extra element to the party already going on inside my mouth. I’m glad I missed brunch.
|Wagyu Minute Steak and Chipotle Butter ($28)|
Daniel decided to be dull and ordered the Wagyu Minute Steak and Chipotle Butter ($28). This may be unadventurous but it was a well-executed classic. The heavily marbled beef was a textbook pink and juicy, and was given an extra hit of richness by the chipotle butter melted generously on top. The sides were also simple yet flawless, the streak of sweet carrot puree especially enjoyable.
|Shadowfax Minnow Grenache ($12 glass)|
To go with his steak, Daniel ordered a glass of Shadowfax Minnow Grenache ($12 glass). This was the antithesis of what I’m used to in a red, being juicy yet sour. But Daniel is the red wine drinker out of the two of us, and he really liked it.
A short hour and a half later, I fully understood the hype surrounding The Grain Store. It has everything you could want really – an inspired brunch menu, expertly crafted lunch options (with a cheeky glass of wine or two), and sweets for those cravings in between. The emphasis on good food and produce is what keeps the people coming back, and really, what else do you need?
Rating: 15.5/20 – grains of gold
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.