Grigons & Orr II: Attack of the Avocado Egg

I normally don’t do a lot of repeat visit posts here. Mainly because I mostly figure that if I’ve already written a rave about a place, that’s really enough of an incentive to readers, no one wants to hear me gabbering on about the same places over and over again. I only ever feel inclined to write about a place multiple times if I visit a long time after the first post and feel inspired enough to do a kind of ‘so here’s what they’re up to now’ update, or if I experience a particular dish that makes me sit up and take proper notice and feel the need to make a community awareness announcement. This particular post is most definitely of the latter variety.

Jen and I ended up at Grigons & Orr during the now distant Anzac Day weekend when our first choice of Elceed was closed. Physically not much appears to have changed since my first visit – the resemblance to an old school corner shop is still very charming, and I even spotted the box of crocheted blankets by the front door, although the autumn sun was strong enough that we didn’t need to borrow any.

I knew that I was after a big plate of assorted breakfast goods, and was pleased to see that there was a vegan and gluten free option that looked like it would be of good service to my craving. “The Ghandi” promised potato rosti, spinach, BBQ tofu, tomato, and an “avocado egg” consisting of half an avocado with a pumpkin puree yolk. I was immediately taken by the thought of this avocado egg – how on earth do you make pumpkin taste like egg? Would it taste like egg? Or would it just be a very savoury ball of pumpkin, which probably shouldn’t be sniffed at and might be a nicely novel edition to breakfast? Clearly I HAD to find out.

Well, I have no idea how the cooks at Grigons & Orr did it, but the bright yellow orb of pumpkin sitting in the middle of my avocado half in place of the stone did, unaccountably, magically, taste like like creamy egg yolk. WIZARDRY! Really I shouldn’t be surprised that pumpkin can be induced into tasting like rich delicious anything, but as a child who stupidly eschewed anything pumpkin related I am still catching up with the full extent of this miracle. As to the other components of my plate, the rosti were crispy and provided a good starchy sponge to soak up all the excess sauce from the BBQ tofu, which was VERY saucy indeed and a welcome brunch plate edition, I’d love to see more places play around with tofu that aren’t specially veg*n places, it can be done guys, tofu isn’t scary. The spinach was properly buttery (or margariney in this case), and the tomato was, well, warm breakfast tomato. I am not that fussed with warm breakfast tomato, it was just there, getting the way of tofu and avocado egg. While I was initially worried that the moderate serving size wasn’t going to be enough to soothe my rapacious tum, it was actually the perfect amount to fill you but not stuff you.

Jen went with the salmon version of the corn fritters, which was an impressive looking pile crowned with salmon and a fan of sliced avocado. They didn’t look to be too dense, and seemed to contain a decent array of vegetable matter.

Grigons & Orr was well worth a repeat visit food-wise – the thought of the pumpkin egg still keeps coming back to me weeks later. The service is friendly but remains slightly idiosyncratic – as with my first visit if you want dairy and sugary accoutrements with your tea you have to get up and go source them yourself – but honestly it’s always reassuring when in this brunch fad mad town an establishment that’s been around for more than a year or two can still front up with a good spread.

Grigons & Orr

445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Ph: 0487 608 489


Grigons & Orr

I love winter. That always seems to be an unpopular statement to make, particularly here in Australia where it sometimes seems as if the very life-blood of the nation survives on sunburn and budgie-smugglers alone. You certainly don’t get anyone lamenting in the middle of summer that they miss rugging up in twenty scarves and going out into a hailing maelstrom. Unless you’re a super weirdo like me, who thinks it’s a good idea to go to places like the Swedish Arctic in the middle of January (I still stand by the awesomeness of that decision!), winter gets a bad rap.

There are some places, however, that know how to deal with winter to make it as pleasant as possible, or at least more bearable for those pining away for warmth.

Grigons & Orr models itself after an old school milk bar, and radiates a twee cuteness which sent me off into fits of aesthetic delight. There’s not many tables inside, but plenty out on the footpath. Which proved to be a bit of a difficulty on the Sunday afternoon I showed up for a solo brunch, as the weather was admittedly vile: rain intermittently sleeting from the sky more horizontally than vertically, and a cruelly frigid wind. Even a winter lover like me was keen on this particular day to admire it from inside rather than out. But all the few tables inside were full! What was I to do, as I looked uneasily outside as a passing woman’s umbrella turned itself inside out?

Grigons & Orr have you covered against wintery calamity in the most grandmotherly way possible, in the form of big, thick crocheted blankets! Wrap yourself in layers of colourful woolen squares and you are more than ready to face sitting outside (which is generally kept dry by the overhanging roof over the footpath). I turned myself into a wooly Michelin man and joined other similarly rugged up punters on the outside tables and looked forward to my meal.

I chose to go with the French toast made of home made brioche, with creme Anglaise and a whole sliced apple poached in a maple-syrup sauce. The brioche was intensely dense, almost to a cake-like consistency, particularly in the way it crumbled when cut through with a knife. The lightly poached and nicely sweet apple slices were absolutely dripping with thick sauce with a toffee-like consistency. The sauce was sweet but not sickly, and combined with the cloud of heaven that was the creme Anglaise, they proved perfect condiments to the thick, not terribly absorbent brioche. Not the best French toast itself I’ve ever had, but definitely some of the most impressive accompaniments.

I also had a delightfully fragrant pot of French earl grey tea. No milk was brought out with it, and there was no sugar pot provided on the outdoor tables, which leads me to believe you must need to collect these things from the counter when you order, but I was far too happily cocooned in my blankets to be bothered with moving. Turns out that I did not need my usual beverage crutches of milk and sugar anyway, it was such a flavoursome brew that I enjoyed it on its own.

As I sat warming my hands with my tea cup, a commotion was heard coming down the street… in the form of a tiny pug puppy! Seriously, this was the most excited tiny pug puppy in the world. She was most particularly excited to discover a human being entirely made of squishy warm blankets, such an experience! An experience that required her to SNUGGLE THE BLANKET PERSON TO DEATH.

Hee hee, tiny pug snuggles! Hmm, what, you need a final pronouncement on Grigons & Orr? Well, I’m certainly keen to go back. It’s cute, the menu is wide-ranging and contained some items I’m very curious to try (including a tofu scramble which very nearly won out over the French toast), and all in all it was a very pleasant, friendly place to hang out in, especially as a lone diner. And if your meal is interrupted by tiny puppies, well, what else do you need in life, you curmugeon, you?

Grigons & Orr

445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Ph: 0403 515 814