Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grumpy's forces me to make a bad pun.

Grumpy's Green
125 Smith Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065

On first impressions, what Grumpy's Green lacks in terms of meat (which is everything, being a vegetarian pub), it potentially makes up for in a chilled-out decor and a very pleasant little beer garden.

My friends and I are nothing if not food lovers, which extends very strongly to our animal friends. When seeking out new places to explore for brunch, the quantity of bacon and sausage-related options are quite important, particularly if the preceding evening has been a bit rowdy. Nothing cures a hangover like salty strips of pig washed down with strong coffee. (If there is please let me know).

So when learning upon arriving at Grumpy's that the menu is 100% vegetarian, our first instinct was to run to the meaty hills of some other pub or cafe. Yet, there was a gorgeous beer garden out the back and the sun was shining. As we pondered our dilemma, the exuberant woman beind the bar greeted us with a smile, and, seeing all of our sunglasses-adorned faces, promised to ply us with strong coffee. Enough said.

The weekend breakfast menu consists of all kinda eggy delights (poached, benedict, scrambled, fried), as well as some interesting vegetarian takes on classic brunch items (scrambled tofu, chilli beans). Lots of mushroom, spinach and grilled tomato is offered up on various dishes. The sweet options consist of pancakes, fruit muesli, french toast and muffins.

I went for the eggs benedicto which were served on two sad looking english muffins out of a packet and which needed a bit more toasting. The hollandaise sauce was creamy and tart, perhaps a little too zesty and the garnish of spinach leaves were wilted. One of my fellow brunchers had the simple scrambled eggs on toast which I was informed, was quite acceptable. The hash browns were pleasant: salty, crispy, but like the english muffins, were quite obviously out of a packet. Sadly the best part of the food in my opinion was the presentation on festive red plates.

As a Melbournite I can overlook any shortcomings of food if the coffee is good. Unfortunately for Grumpy's, ours was burnt. Strong, but burnt.

I don't want to be too harsh on this place, as it really is a welcoming and friendly cafe. Should you wish to stretch out inside, there are Moroccan-style corners of cushions near the front windows which are perfect for kicking back and people-watching on Smith st. The delightfulness of the beer garden cannot be overstated, as it has the feel of a friend's backyard, and coupled with the Fitzroy sun shining down it's hard to not to want to stay there all afternoon.

The regular menu boasts mediterranean dishes such as felafel, dolmates, chickpeas and fetta and I would happily go back and give dinner a go. Grumpy's is also very environmentally responsible, using eco-friendly products, free-range eggs, and only serving Victorian alcohol to minimise its carbon footprint. Props to that.

However, as far as brunch goes, we left feeling, well, a little grumpy.

GRUMPY's GREEN - at a glance
Brunch price range: $3 - 12
Patron summary: Dog-loving Fitzroyalty
Brunch rating: 3 out of 5 eggs

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