Grigons & Orr

Stepping over the threshold into Grigons & Orr is like stepping through a time warp right into 1950. It’s a visual feast from the shelves stacked to the ceiling with products you could get in a traditional milk bar, to the rows of lollies in the glass counter and the fluoro biscuits in glass jars. Even the cold drinks fridge is built into a display of wooden crates along the wall. Perhaps the only thing out of place is the slick coffee machine, but that’s a good thing, of course.

There are tables set up along the sidewalk, complete with knitted blankets customers can use to keep themselves warm, but on this sunny, crisp morning, we opt to sit in the snug interior. A and I are busy chattering away, making up for the months since we last caught up, that we don’t really realise at first that we have actually been quite neglected by the staff. I finally spy menus sitting under the coffee machine, and grab them for us both. The food looks good, with a very impressive range of both sweet and savoury breakfasts. I half wished we had come in a bigger group so we could order more, but we settle on 2 of the most interesting looking dishes.

SPAM Spiced ham pan fried, topped with scrambled egg & drizzled with truffle oil

A is also an avid Masterchef fan, and she gushed about Matt Preston writing a really good review of G&O, and particularly about the Spam. It was awesome! It’s such a simple dish, really- the saltiness of the spam pairs beautifully with the egg and the very subtle truffle oil. More than that, it evoked memories of my childhood when my grandmother used to fry up pieces of ‘Ma Ling’ luncheon meat, and how we totally enjoyed them as children, before we understood the concept of saturated fat. The scrambled eggs were also firm without being too runny- just the way I like it!

Coddled Eggs Cooked with fresh herbs & served with grilled cheesy soldiers & chilli jam

I love caramelised onions, and a mouthful of cheesy soldiers and runny egg topped with the sweet onion was delicious. The chilli in the onions really did not do anything though, so calling it chilli jam is a bit misleading. Both A and my threshold for chilli really is quite high, but we truly did not taste any chilli heat in the onions at all.

A had a muddled juice- the strawberry, mint and cloudy apple, and it was delicious! I, however, was after something a bit more warming, like a pot of tea. Unfortunately, my order had been overlooked, and when I finally asked for it toward the end of the meal (I was in the middle of a riveting conversation and good food), the response was brusque, and without apology.

The tea however, was served in the most adorable manner. Knitted tea cosy, real tea cups and Australiana crockery- it just completed the experience back to the 50s milk bar. There were a lot of things to like about Grigons & Orr- the charming atmosphere and decor, the great food, and great prices at less than $15 per dish. But in my imagination, a corner store in the 50s would also have a kindly little old lady who would be the epitome of warmth and generosity. And she would look pretty much like the Granny Davis persona Grigons & Orr has on its website. I doubt that Granny Davis would forget menus or my pot of tea without so much as an apology, though. I think if the staff at G&O could channel more kindly Granny Davis, and less apathy, it would be a complete winner for me.

Grigons & Orr

Corner of Queensberry St and Chetwynd St
North Melbourne

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