It had been a while since a couple of the girls from work had caught up for lunch and I picked The Grain Store as the venue. I had heard about the place and heard about the healthy and fresh ingredients that they used and was interested to see what it was all about. Eating out and trying out delicious dishes is a heap of fun, but having healthy dishes is a bonus as well.
The Grain Store is located on Flinders Lane, near the hustle and bustle of King St and from the moment you step in through the doors you really do feel at home. The place is set up to resemble your very own in house kitchen and dining area. That was the very first thoughts when we walked in. There is an open plan kitchen, complete with a island bench top – which has homemade sandwiches, baguettes, pies and quiches that you can order for lunch. There are wooden tables throughout the “dining room” and the cooking kitchen is located at the back. The look is light, modern, classy yet homely – and is littered with my favourite – filament light bulbs! The colour theme is white and beige, with marble and fresh flowers, and is lit up in all the right places.
The philosophy behind their food is passion and tradition. Their fruits and vegetables are harvested locally in an environmentally sensitive manner where there is no usage of chemicals. The aim is to produce food that is fresh, healthy and delicious and I can tell you they definitely achieve that. Chef Ingo Meissner has created a beautiful menu inspired by his European heritage (Meissner was born in Germany and has been trained in French and Mediterranean styles), and really does take you on an adventure. The menu consists of ingredients meshed together in ways that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.
There are ingredients such as nigella seeds, kale, quinoa and faro grains that are used in both the breakfast and the lunch menus and all the dishes sound absolutely scrumptious! When it came to ordering food all three of us didn’t know what to pick! The breakfast menu is served until 12 noon – but the dishes under there really did grab your attention. I definitely have to head back there to try dishes like Buttermilk French Toast, Rhubarb & Apple – peppered caramel, cold drip coffee mascarpone as well as the Portobello Mushroom & Raclette Potato Rosti with Poached Egg and Chestnut Hollandaise. How amazing do those dishes sound..and that is just two of the many dishes to choose from!
To start with whilst we decided on what we wanted to order – all of us ordered the Housemade Spirulina Drink which had Pineapple, Mint & Pear. This was fantastic. The combination really worked well and in no time I had downed my drink. Definitely try this drink out when you visit. Check out their coffee as well – sourced from Axil Coffee Roasters and St Ali. There is a cold drip coffee apparatus on display as well.
I ended up ordering the Slow Cooked Tasmanian Sea Trout with Potato Fondant, Leek as did one of my other friends. And Auds ordered the Nicola Potato Gnocchi & Milawa Tomme Cheese with Brussel Sprouts, Brown Butter, Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Root Chips. This was my other option that I was going to try. The trout was beautifully cooked – pink and moist on the inside and grilled a bit on the outside. The Potato fondant was perfectly seasoned and couple with the leek worked really well together. The Leek added a creaminess to the taste. The thin crisps of onions a top of the trout was a great addition too. I tried some of Auds’ Gnocchi and it was homemade and soft. They weren’t all the same size or shape but that’s what made the pasta authentic to me. The addition of a pumpkin soup like consistency at the base of the dish was a great idea and Auds actually said that she was going to do that for her home dishes. Even the brussel sprouts were tasty! The dishes are decently sized and are really filling.
Even though all of us were absolutely full – we couldn’t look past the dessert menu. We decided to get two desserts and share it between the three of us. I think there is a theory behind eating things in smaller portions – it makes it seem like you aren’t eating much at all =p We got the Mini Pear Tart Tartin with Butter Caramel Sauce, Whipped Creme Fraiche as well as the Feijoa Cheese Cake and Honey Chocolate Mousse with Pistachio and Honey Comb. To choose a favourite between these two will be like splitting hairs – they were both two of the best desserts I have ever had. The Tart Tartin pastry was flaky and all sorts of yum and comes out warm! The Butter Caramel Sauce was sweet but when you mix it with the creme fraiche gets toned down. Such a great mix. The Feijoa ( I have never had Feijoa before! It has a guava like flavour) Cheese Cake with the Chocolate Mousse layer was yet again another amazing dish. Really on words can really explain these desserts – you just need to go out and try it for yourself!
Another great plus point of The Grain Store is that they are doing their part for the environment in reducing the food miles of their ingredients by teaming up with CERES Fair Food Organic Food Delivery Service.
If there is one place that you definitely need to try this year – this is definitely the place to check out. I need to make a trip back there ASAP to try out their breakfast menu!
Rating : 5 Pandas
Menu – Breakfast and Lunch Menu – Can be found at http://www.grainstore.com.au/menu/
Atmosphere / Ambience: Modern and it felt as if you were in your own kitchen. Great ambience, warm, casual and inviting.
Standout Dish: Slow Cooked Tasmanian Sea Trout and for Dessert: Mini Pear Tart Tartin – Butter Caramel Sauce, Whipped Creme Fraiche, Rhubarb
Service: Friendly and Helpful. Sometimes during peak hour at lunch, it is hard to get wait staffs attention.
Online Booking: Yes via http://www.grainstore.com.au/bookings/
Restaurant Details and Location:
517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Tel No: 9972 6993
Monday – Thursday: 7am -4:30pm
Friday: 7am – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30am – 4pm