This morning E and I met my sister Francesca, her partner Steve and his three kids for brunch in North Fitzroy. We went to three places before we could find a place with enough room to fit seven of us. I was beginning to despair when we walked into the Green Grocer which seemed as full of latte luvvies as the previous two places. It has a narrow entrance with boxes of fruit and vegetables lining one wall and a counter full of cakes on the other side. This is truly the grocer the name suggests, as well as a café, which fit snugly into an old Victorian terrace house.
But there was room for us. We were ushered upstairs to a bright spacious room with original artwork on the walls, rows of wine bottles and a large window looking out to the cast iron balcony that overlooked St George’s Road. I am not used to brunch with a gaggle of children, but was impressed with the staff’s patience with the, changing their minds about their order. And the verandah gave them space to play and explore.
For my brunch I chose the veggie big breakfast. This consisted of a fetta and herb pancake, homemade baked beans, tomato, mushroom, spinach, avocado and hash brown with a pesto sauce. It was excellent. The food tasted fresh: less fried and stodgy than the usual big breakfast. The colours of wilted spinach and kidney beans in tomato sauce on the pancake were bright and appealing. I had been tempted to ask for toast rather than the pancake but was glad I didn’t, as the pancake was thick and substantial enough to hold its own against all the flavours. The round little hash brown was crispy on the outside and had a pleasing chunky inside that went well with the meltingly ripe wedge of avocado.
I also had a freshly squeezed juice – apple, carrot and beetroot. This is my favourite combination and was pleasing. E had porridge which he said was not how the Scots make it – it had sultanas, banana, honey and some sort of seeds, but he says it was nicely warming on a cold winter’s morning. I also tasted some of the sweet treats which the kids had (their breakfast was long ago) and found them pleasing too. Oh and I am told the coffee was good.
The staff were friendly and accommodating for both children and adults. Coming downstairs to the counter, I found myself tempted by all sorts of interesting food. I was just sad I had bought bread elsewhere and so a loaf of the excellent looking sourdough bread was out of the question. Maybe next time.
The Green Grocer
217 St Georges Road
tel: 03 94891747
Update: The Green Grocer is now closed