If you're cycling up the Grange Road hill towards Toorak Road, the Grange Road Egg Shop looks as though it should be an old English pub. At least from the outside. That's because the cafe is housed in a Tudor-style heritage-listed building (and also because sometimes biking up hills before breakfast can make you hallucinate).
But while the outside looks like it could belong in Cambridge, the interior is all Scandinavian, with geometric patterns and pastel hues. The 97-seater comes from Adam Wilkinson, who is also responsible for Denis the Menace and St Edmonds. He's made the most of the building's lovely bones and, along with the clever clogs at DB Architecture, has drawn together all the threads of the cafe's concept to highlight the egg theme. The colour palette of yoke yellow, shell pink and duck-egg blue and a re-appropriation of some of the imperfect surfaces of the simple egg combine with signature curves and textured crackles to enhance a memorable, yet not overdone design.
The menu is varied and covers every possible craving. Whether you're after sweet or savoury, healthy or indulgent, head chef Aleksander Nitecki (who's worked at Ottolenghi and, most recently, at Glover's Station) has something for everyone. It's not all eggs.
In fact, there are only four egg dishes. But, if you're swayed by the subliminal egg-vertising, you can choose to have your eggs baked, scrambled with smoked salmon ($16.90-18.90) or just by themselves on toast ($9.90). But you can't really go past iconic brunch item of the 2000s: the eggs Benedict ($18.90). Here, the perfectly poached eggs come with a rich and slightly citrusy burnt butter béarnaise on brioche. If you have any sort of need to feel virtuous, order a jungle juice (red apple, beetroot, carrot, celery, ginger and leaves) to go with it.
If you're vegan (or just not into eggs), you won't go hungry. All the brunch staples are here, including Dr Marty's crumpets with a fancy topping, Bircher and porridge, as well as breakfast greens, a seasonal avocado dish and buttermilk pancakes. You'll want to come back for lunch too; Nitecki does a mean lamb neck ragu linguine and duck salad.
So whether you cycle, walk, take public transport or hop in your car, don't miss the Grange Road Egg Shop's unlikely facade. The hallucinations are real — this place is mighty good and you'd be an egg not to try it out.
Images: Alana Hose and Jo Rittey.