A modern Middle Eastern slant on classic brunch and lunch in Brunswick.
Walk past the serious black brick facade that belongs to Code Black and you'll be guided by a more welcoming, heritage-listed red brick building (previously the Toby's Estate coffee warehouse). Signposted by Brunswick locals milling on the pavement and, of course, a few bikes chained up out the front, Brunswick Foodstore is filled with both locals and bike owners getting their weekend fill of eggs, smashed avocado and single origin coffee.
Thanks to the Lebanese backgrounds of owners Rich and Suzy Pavlov, the menu at the Brunswick Foodstore holds a distinctly Middle Eastern vibe, with the likes of sucuk (Turkish sausage), zaatar and labne making multiple appearances. The smashed avocado with grilled pork sausage, poached eggs, feta and rocket ($17.50) is a great way to start the day, the brioche French toast with pear mascarpone, crispy bacon, rosewater syrup and walnuts ($16.90) a pure treat, and the breakfast mezze with fried eggs, labne, grilled sucuk, feta, olives and pita bread ($18.50) is an interesting take on breakfast.
Onto lunch and the menu's direction is consistent, with mezze plates, kofta wraps and falafel providing the foundations for a rather solid offering.
As you sit in this expansive warehouse space that feels pleasantly warm and welcoming, you'll find plenty of things to look at. In one corner is the food store, with its rows and rows of interesting, colourful produce; from tins of tea and bags of coffee, to jars of spices and chilled deli goods as well as freshly baked bread, there is a strong local focus and everything stocked seems to have been very carefully considered. In another corner lies the kitchen and bar, decorated with geometric drawings and a wall mural of coffee machine mechanics, serving as just one piece of evidence that the coffee here (made with Toby's Estate beans, no less) is taken very seriously. But perhaps the best thing about Brunswick Foodstore is that, due to its sheer size, you're likely to nab a table when all other Brunswick cafes will make you wait. And, if you do face a small wait, perusing the food store can make for a delightful way to pass the time.