Tucked a block away from North Melbourne's bustling Errol St, Grigons and Orr is truly one of the suburb's best kept secrets. Small and cosy, a visit to this corner store/ café is like being a kid on the way home from school in the 1970s. Expect to enter and be confronted with crowded shelves full of Aussie home staples: lines of jars of Vegemite, tins of Spam and bulging paper bags filled with lollies at the counter ready to grab before mum settles the bill.
Although the place is frequently packed on the weekends and the small space results in the nudging of elbows with strangers, one cannot help but feel a unique sense of familiarity and comfort - like you've been here before in the past. Indeed, you feel the ease to divulge secrets to friends even if neighbouring ears can hear; the sense of privacy is strong. The additional touches of cute floral crockery and tea pot cosies contribute to the homely atmosphere.
Next, onto the food: this may be the 1970s, but the dishes are anything but dull. My brunch pal LY opted for the sophisticated Corn Fritters. These babies were studded with copious pieces of juicy corn, stacked with salty bacon before being finished off with a dollop of chilli jam and the rich ooziness of a poached egg drizzled with perfect Hollandaise sauce ($17.50). The flavours and textures were top notch!
I, on the other hand, could not go past the Israeli classic and personal fave - Shakshouka. The eggs were baked in a rich spicy Napoli sauce served with yoghurt ($15.50). Of course, buttery crusty toast was a must in this dish to soak up every last bit of the scrumptious, hearty sauce.
Being in such a childish state of mind, I decided to pass on my usual latte and to opt for an indulgent ice coffee - .real coffee avalanched with a generous serve of ice cream and whipped cream ($5.50). If you're anything like my friend who regularly shows up in a hung-over state post Saturday night fear not. At $3 a pop, you can be fixed up with a glass of Berocca.
A trip to this corner shop morphs ones sense of time. Indeed, I felt like I was a child again, expecting at any time, my mum to scold me about my untied shoelaces, food stains on my shirt or nagging over having another Spider Float or bag of ADHD.