Sunday, 6 October 2013

Grigons & Orr - North Melbourne

There are few cities around the world that rival Melbourne for sheer number of cafes, such is our obsession. With all this congestion, how do all these places survive? The quality of coffee is definitely a major factor...but I don't drink coffee, and this is a food review, so if you wanted to read about the coffee at Grigons and Orr, here's two words: JOG ON!

Yep, in my humble opinion, it's the food that sets all these places apart. However, it doesn't hurt when the place has a bit of fun with itself (cue immature giggles from some quarters). Grigons & Orr is a 'Corner Store' cafe - 445 Queensberry St North Melbourne - and it runs with the corner store milk bar/cafe motif. All sorts of creative sweet things decorate the menu - Tim Tam milkshakes?! - and the way it's decked out reminds you of those coffee houses your parents used to drive you to as a kid as you lay curled up in the back seat of the family lamborghini in blue suede shoes, wearing gold knuckle-dusters...okay, those last few things weren't real, but the cafes that doubled as a sweet-tooth's paradise were very much real, and only seem to exist in country towns nowadays. Cue Grigons & Orr, est. 2009. Downstairs you'll find the milk bar set up with a few small tables in the windows, but if you venture upstairs you'll find a couple of cute, cosy tea rooms in which to plant yourself.

The menu is fun, and very veg.-vegan friendly. Eggs done many ways with creative names, salads with which I would be MORE than happy to get a stew on, and the dish of choice for breakfast today: "The Gandhi" ($17.50), advertised as being a vegan avocado egg, potato rosti, bbq tofu, spinach - although they were out of spinach today - roasted tomato, and garnished with a sprinkling of chives. The first part of this perplexed me initially. The 'Vegan Avocado' is, in fact, a halved avocado, with a lightly herbed pumpkin puree forming the yolk. Very creative, and given my avocado obsession, very appreciated! The big question is, do all these various elements of this dish fit together? Or, to put it another way, are they at one with the others? In my opinion, they are very close, but not quite there. I'm the first to admit that breakfast is not my favourite meal of the day, but it kind of felt like there was a little bit too much happening on my plate. Perhaps the lack of an ingredient, the spinach, actually contributed to this, as the roast tomatoes felt a little surplus. The tofu was also quite a firm variety, and felt a bit stodgy going down. But let me stop myself right there, as this is me nit-picking and the truth is, I did enjoy this dish. The thing that held it together quite well was the delicious bbq marinade on the tofu, which complemented all of the other ingredients. And, naturally, I was quite taken with the avo-egg as well (ingenious!).

This place has a menu that MUST be explored. As such, I'll be leaving any numbered rating until after subsequent visits. But take it from me and Molly Meldrum: do yourself a favour and check it out!

The Gandhi

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