The Grain Store is a beacon of beauty hidden amongst some really ugly buildings in the Beirut end of Collins Street.
If you’re looking for it, just avert your gaze from the horrendous multi-storey carpark with flashing red neon lights. Your hurting eyes will alight on a small doorway shielding a soft, blonde wood, glow inside.
The Grain Store looks like a spruced up French country kitchen (without the chintz) and it’s a beautifully calming space. You could grab something to take back to your desk but I recommend that you make the most of the serenity by drawing up a chair and having a proper meal. The staff know most people are office workers and in a hurry so they’re very switched on about attending to your needs quickly.
It’s evident from the menu that a lot of care has been taken to present breakfast and lunch dishes that are not just your usual run-of-the-mill smashed avo on sourdough combos. The most eye-catching spread is at tall island bench groaning with a selection of pastries, sandwiches stuffed with delicious-sounding ingredients, a deep frilled vegetarian tart of the day with Alice in Wonderland proportions and a platter of the health-giving salad.
The sit-down menu also takes the fresh, colourful and seasonal route. So for winter they’ve included some warming winter dishes, such as my very fresh fillet of sea bream, pan seared and served with a sweet roasted squash puree, vegetables, pine nuts and the tang of capers ($26). I had my fish with a glass of frothy house made spirulina, pineapple, pear and mint juice ($8), a sweet and cleansing drink. If caffeine is more your thing then their coffee is sourced from St Ali and Axil.
My friend tried the cauliflower, quinoa, gogi berry salad with a sweep of pumpkin hummus, slices of celeriac and sprinkles of black cumin seeds ($17). It was beautifully presented and contains more superfoods than you can throw a stick at – but it is more suitable as a light lunch so don’t order it if you’re very ravenous!
My vegetarian friend selected the daily tart containing huge chunks of zucchini and goats cheese encased in a crunchy puff pastry with a side of cauliflower and brown rice salad ($17).
It’s not all holier-than-thou food though – try one of their oozy, chocolate overload gluten-free brownies studded with walnuts ($5) on your way out.
Not only does The Grain Store‘s kitchen focus on using local and sustainable produce, the cafe is also the only CBD pick up point for Ceres Fair Food orders so you really can have your kale and eat it too!
The Grain Store is a homely space that produces fresh flavoured, restaurant quality food at cafe prices. It’s already received lots of positive word of mouth which means that it gets pretty packed at lunch time so I recommend making a table booking.