Wednesday arrives and greets us with eye-searingly clear skies. The sun is strong and the Melburnian city streets are quiet, save for small gatherings of locals decked in business attire sitting outside hole-in-the-wall coffee shops. We find Flinders Lane without difficulty and eventually make a stop at The Grain Store, a breakfast place I’d read about on Townske the night before. We are a bit overwhelmed by what we find.
The cafe is staggeringly busy, crawling with breakfast hunters, coffee lovers and diligent apron-wearing staff. The sound of enthusiastic chatter and cutlery on ceramic echoes delightfully trough the space. For a Wednesday morning, the turnout is nothing short of fantastic. Festive baubles, wreaths and fairy lights adorn the walls and ceiling, inviting that end-of-year holiday charm while somehow retaining that rustic, minimalist vibe cafes these days are so famous for.
A lovely lady leads us to a table near the back and we order two flat whites before deciding yes, we want the smashed greens and avocado with poached eggs, polenta and corn salsa ($18) and the portobello mushroom and gruyere potato rösti with poached eggs, spinach leaves and hazelnut hollandaise ($18), with a side of house smoked salmon ($5). While we wait, James answers work emails while I take it upon myself to snap countless photos of the bright, airy interior. A large, sophisticated-looking coffee drip tower made of wood and glass sits just in front of us.
When our food arrives, we break our poached eggs to let the yolk ooze everywhere. I then proceed to enjoy the creamiest portobello mushrooms I’ve ever tasted, the soft and smoky flesh of the salmon, and the impressive hazelnut hollandaise that actually tastes like hazelnut. The potato rösti that comes with my dish is nothing to write home about, reminiscent of a fat potato scallop with herbs mixed through – it’s not a rösti at all, really. But everything else makes up for it. The coffee’s pretty good too – maybe a little on the acidic side, giving it quite a bit of bite.
The Grain Store does chic breakfasts right. I think the cafe has an amazing vibe and most importantly, they have incredibly attentive staff. I am interested to try their lunch menu — I’ll have to come back to Melbourne in the near future just to give it a go!