Kettle Black. Yet another eatery that rides on its mighty reputation.
Standing outside and laying your eyes on its exterior, you immediately understand why people fall in love with this place. It’s a white-on-white monument. The building is a Victorian-Era house that has been encapsulated into an ultra modern shell. The dining area is blessed with luxuriously high ceilings, which are covered in what looks like white dragon scales. Despite the various indoor plants that soften the otherwise cold modern interior, the inside looks and feels like some sci-fi spaceship. It’s like something you would expect from a Star Wars movie or a Doctor Who episode. It doesn’t feel corny. The future is here and it is visually marvellous. This is minimalism at its finest.
The best dining experiences always meets the following criteria:
A vibrant atmosphere,
Good company and
Eating on-board a spaceship? YASSS! Brunching with the gals? YASSSSS! Getting your hopes up that the food is going to blow you away? Nurse! It’s time for this patient’s dose of reality.
Sandy decided to dance with the Benedict Style Eggs with Free Range Pork Shoulder and aerated Hollandaise. It’s always polite to begin with the positives. The pork was smoky in flavour, but not overpowering. However, the meal on the whole was bland. On paper it promised to be a pleasurable tango on the palette. In reality it proved to be a dreary shuffle. “It would have been better if the poached eggs had been placed on top of the pork so that the dish would not of had such a contrast on the two slices of sourdough” Sandy disappointedly suggested.
On the bright side; at least the pork wasn’t dry!
Vincent opted for the rustic Mixed Beans with House Made Tomato Sauce and Pork and Fennel Sausage. Topped off with basil and accompanied by a side of toast. After some brisk foraging, a surprising dollop of pesto can be found at the centre of bowl. The pesto along with the beans, sausage, tomato sauce and toast hits all the right notes. BE WARNED: There is only a dollop of pesto. So savour every bit of that sucker. Without the pesto, this dish is really just over glorified baked beans. It’s disappointingly bland and oily. Even the sausage can’t drag this dish over the finishing line. No podium finish here. Kudos to the Kettle Black team for offering an interesting array choices!
Unfortunately, the extravagance on paper failed to materialise in front of us. Lots of hype followed by disappointing execution. Just like Azealia Banks’ album”Broke with Expensive Taste.” All tea. All shade.
The resounding chorus of “meh” by the girls (4 dishes in total), when we asked them what they thought of the food, says it all.
Other dishes ordered: Eggs on Sourdough with Heirloom Tomatoes (Specials menu) & Chilli Scrambled Eggs with air-dried Flinders Island Wallaby and Feta
Sandy – 3/5
Vincent – 3/5
Ever wondered what it would be like to step through the looking glass into Wonderland?
Depressingly for those of us that don’t use acid (party safely kids), however, walking into the Grain Store for the first time will be the closest you will ever get to such an experience.
The Grain Store is located on the dull end of Flinders Lane. Think car park lots and dark-outdated office
buildings filled with tradies out front. It’s a shock to the system when you transition from such drab surroundings, into a joint that looks like it’s been directly lifted out of an ikea catalog. The place is buzzing with life. It’s vibrant, energetic and joyous. You turn your head to one side and salivate over the baked goods on display, then turn your head another 90 degrees and gaze into the open kitchen. Our hard-ons for the harmonious ecosystem of the Grain Store could barely be contained.
Between the both us, we had settled on devouring the Cider Poached Milawa Free Range
Chicken & Almonds (Sandy) and the Vegan Carrot Sumac Falafel & White Bean Hummus (Vincent) with a side of asparagus. G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S is the only word that comes to mind when trying to describe our dishes.
The Poached Cider Chicken would fizzle as a solo artist. However, once joined by it’s supporting acts such as the Ajo Blanco dressing, almond flakes and butternut pumpkin chips, the dish put on quite the performance.
Textures. Textures. Textures.
The moist poached chicken, fresh red lettuce and crisp butternut pumpkin strips would all be worthy of a standing ovation.
On the other end of the table, the Vegan Falafel Sumac was waiting to make its debut. This dish was full of life. Stunning on the plate and orgasmic on the tongue. Simply put, WOW. The subtly bitter salad, sweet morsels of pumpkin pieces, exotic falafel and soothing hummus made every mouthful so damn exciting.
These dishes had us induced into a trance like state.
If you’re looking for a temporary escape from a colourless-boring arse day at the office, then
The Grain Store is where you want to be.
*Weekday Lunch menu*
Sandy – 4.5/5
Vincent – 4/5
Nestled in the corner of Melbourne’s northern suburbia, Jackson Dodds blends in with its sleepy surroundings. Even the graffiti on the side of the building doesn’t offend the eye. Its décor is very much in vogue with all the other brunch joints that now seem to saturate the café scene.
The menu is simple and includes everything you would expect from your local brunch joint. To be frank, there is nothing unorthodox or unexpected.
For those who have heard glowing reviews about Jackson Dodds, like we had, you can’t help but feel that its reputation speaks volumes above the final product.
Of course we weren’t expecting three star Michelin cuisine, but even avocado-feta smash can become a little repetitive.
That’s not to say the food and coffee was disappointing. The portions were generous and the coffee was fab. Indeed, It would be disingenuous to dismiss Jackson Dodds as a miserable experience. You just can’t help but feel, however, that you’ve had a similar experience somewhere else before.
For a warm and lazy afternoon, Jackson Dodds offers a nice place to unwind and gossip with a dear friend. It doesn’t offer culinary adventurism, but perhaps that’s a more general comment on Melbourne’s brunch scene. All in all, Jackson Dodds comfortably meets the benchmark for a relaxed brunch experience.
Vincent – 3/5
Sandy – 3.5/5