Tuesday 27 April 2010

Grumpy's Green - well fed with eco cred

Grumpy's Green is a bar with a black painted verandah that does not beckon me off the street. But Cindy and Michael's recommendation made me aware it is vegetarian as well as bringing their cool name to my attention. After a phone call to check it was ok for babies, we decided to give it a go when we met our friend Yavanna and Chris for a late lunch on the weekend.

Inside the front door is a dimly lit space with floral wallpapered bar and lots of cosy couches and cushions. Grumpy's has lots of small spaces - downstairs, upstairs, on the street and in the beer garden - creating lots of intimate places to sit.

There were no suitable seats vacant downstairs, the low-lit tables and couches upstairs seemed too gloomy for daytime, so we found a table under a large umbrella in the beer garden. It is a bright courtyard with brick and bluestone walls. Then we sat down to the difficult task of choosing from an all vegetarian menu. (NB the bottle is a strawberry wine Chris and Yavanna gave to E for his birthday and the sign 'Rove' is the flipside of our table number.)

Chris found it easiest to choose his lunch. He thoroughly enjoyed his fried eggs with chilli beans and has browns. I noticed that there were a lot of sides to order with the eggs. Most of the menu was not so breakfast-oriented.

Yavanna decided to choose from both the extensive pizza menu and the small dishes. She shared these with Chris as I think they would have been too much for her alone. I tasted while we waited for our order to arrive. The stuffed button mushroom were all different - the one that I tasted was filled with dahl. Quite interesting but not really my thing. The pizza with semi-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichoke, capsicum and mozzarella was lovely though I ate most of the topping and then fed Sylvia some of the pizza base.

Our order came slightly later (probably because we ordered separately at the bar). E and I had decided upon a pizza each and a shared serve of chickpea tempura vegetables in a sweet chilli soy sauce. The vegetables had a lovely golden crispy chickpea batter and the dipping sauce was full of flavour and spicy heat. I particularly loved the broccoli and pumpkin. Everyone tasted them and swooned over them. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for delicious vegan and gluten free food.

Likewise I really enjoyed my pizza but was most impressed with the bases (and there are also gluten free pizza bases available but I can't vouch for their taste). The bases were quite soft and bready and the toppings were substantial without being soggy. E loved his pizza with pesto, mushroom, capsicum and jalapeños with spicy tomato & chilli. My topping of pesto, feta, rocket and pear pizza was good but not mind-blowing, though to be fair, I was quite distracted by Sylvia.

Though there were no highchairs or toys, it was a good place to take Sylvia. She could have a bit of a play on the ground and we had plenty of room for her stroller once she started eating. We were also lucky to be under a large umbrella when the rain came on. And the staff weren't at all grumpy. Everyone was really pleased with my choice of place. Yet again blogging showed me the way!

While we were there, Chris and E checked out the drinks menu and commented on the interesting selection. It was only after I got home and looked up Grumpy's on the net that I read about how strongly it is committed to being environmentally friendly. The couches are second hand, the food and drinks are sourced locally, water comes from rain tanks and a few nights a week the place is lit by candle light and the gigs are acoustic.

What I find interesting is that we could visit and have a good time without being aware of the environmental credentials. (As you might have noticed above, I am a bit distracted by Sylvia when eating out these days, which might be one of the reasons I didn't notice.) It just shows that many other places could be eco-friendly and the punters could enjoy themselves whether they cared about global warming or not. For me, this policy is yet another reason to return to Grumpy's Green for more.

Grumpy Greens
125 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Tel: 03 9416 1944
Web: http://www.grumpysgreen.com/fitzroy/


  1. Sounds like a great place to go. I was drooling over that tempura (chickpea batter, interesting, must look into it) and the mushrooms and I never say no to pizza. Can you tell I am hungry just now?

  2. Glad you liked it. We order at least one pizza #6 (the one that E had) each week at trivia. It's phenomenal.

  3. I'm glad you had such a pleasant time there, Johanna! I think E's pizza is Michael's favourite. I actually rather like the pear and rocket one that you tried, though I like the snacks (chips, nachos etc) even more. :-)

  4. What a cute name and I can feel your relief when everyone likes your choice. Sometimes I get rather anxious choosing a place for people! :)

  5. I heart Grumpy's - mainly for the barmen though!
    But the fact they are vego and eco friendly, how could you not love that?

    Oh, and they serve Holgate Temptress - best chocolatey coffeey vegan beer ever.

  6. Definitely intrigued by the chickpea batter tempura! (My current favourite snack is just opening a can of lentils/chickpeas/assorted legumes and roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes, so that my explain my intriguedness.)

    I'm interested about one thing, though - you mention calling up to check that the restaurant was fine with babies. Have you ever arrived somewhere and been told that you can't bring Sylvia, or is it just about making sure the experience will be pleasant, if they're set up for children? (Does that make sense?)

  7. This place sounds like a good haven to eat! I love the food and the presentation is so appetizing.

  8. Thanks Jacqueline - I'd love to try the chickpea batter at home - but my fear of deep frying makes it far more pleasant to eat when out

    Thanks Michael - those pizzas would make for great trivia nights :-)

    Thanks cindy - I did think I should try the chips but there were too many interesting things to choose from - I think the tempura veg and chips would be a nice combo

    Thanks Lorraine - I get anxious too about choosing places but it is easier to find places through blogging

    Thanks Niki - I didn't notice any barmen but the beer sounds great

    Thanks Hannah - chickpea flour is great - I don't do deep frying at home but it is great in pudla (like pancakes) and roast chickpeas are also delicious. We did get turned away from a few pubs in Edinburgh because we had a baby so I am a little paranoid about taking Sylvia to a bar but also it helps to check about the attitude.

    Thanks baby cribs - the food was wonderful

  9. Sounds like a great place, though I bet all those nooks and crannies make it difficult for the servers to keep track of customers! Your pizzas look terrific--I love the uneven crusts that look homemade. And bravo to them for their environmental awareness.

  10. I went here when I was in Melbourne and liked it. Thanks for the reccomendation!
    Also, I would like to ask the permission to link this blog to mine. would that be alright?


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