Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
Breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day, largely because it’s so versatile. Most of the time, I have boring old muesli and milk, but the Malaysian in me celebrates large, oily breakfasts, like nasi lemak, also known as a mountain of coconut milk-flavoured rice, served with curry, fried anchovies, and a boiled egg. This is why I didn’t bat an eyelid when the folks at Melbourne’s Grain Store put a good chunk of smoked salmon and a scotch egg in front of me at 8.30 in the morning.
The menu at the Grain Store is innovative to say the least. Some of the descriptions contain ingredients I’d never even heard of – case in point, the quark on my plate. Nerdy old me thought that a quark was something known only to nuclear physicists but a quick squizz on Wikipedia reveals that it’s a kind of cheese common in German-speaking countries. I’m guessing that’s the white stuff underneath the fish, although it sure tasted a lot like sour cream or yoghurt. (In my defence, my ignorance is forgiven, because the atomic quark was the first thing that popped up on Wikipedia.)
What else was on my plate? To be honest, I’m not quite sure, but the whole thing just worked together so well. The sweetness of the fruit (must have been the pickled quince, but since I haven’t actually seen one in real life, I can’t be sure) worked so well with my mildly salty, perfectly flaky house-smoked salmon, with the charred corn providing just the right amount of crunchy texture. And the scotch egg! The menu said fried egg, but this deep-fried gem with a perfectly runny yolk surpassed all expectations.
My dining companion was less impressed with his selection, though. His chef-iness claimed that he had been trained to make the perfect omelette in America, and this lightly browned version was decidedly overcooked. But then again, maybe he just had food envy, because his roasted cauliflower and potato omelette looked so boring compared to mine.
No breakfast is complete without a juice, and my house-made spirulina with pineapple, pear and mint was absolutely delicious although perhaps just a little too sweet for my taste.
Would I go back again? In a heartbeat, if only to sample the delectable selection of pastries on the bar counter.
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