Holistic eatery Gramps Cafe is a self-proclaimed blast from the past, serving up old-fashioned food on vintage furniture in a cosy Red Hill nook.
Owner Adam Murphy is a qualified nutritionist, but knew while studying the subject at university, the bureaucratic, strict guidelines of nutrition in the corporate world was not the journey he aspired to take. Diving into hospitality, Adam has a holistic approach when it comes to both cooking and eating. “I’m a big believer of always cooking from scratch. Good living comes from cooking. I believe that you have to have a beautiful kitchen table you enjoy sitting around is so important,” he says, lightly tapping the expansive shabby chic timber table our Single Ocoffee is perched upon, “because it will make the food taste better, and you will enjoy sitting to eat. I have this theory. The Mediterranean diet is inherently full of fat, croissants for breakfast and all that, and what makes that healthy is not necessarily the food that’s being eaten, but the long process that’s gone into cooking it, and then the long process that is that family time sitting around the table eating it.”
Quality is the name of the game at Gramps, and there is no radish left unturned to achieve that goal. The eggs are free-range, meat is from Billy’s in Ashgrove, the tea is The Steepery Tea Co, and the “love is grown in-house”. Placing our order with as much indecision as the chicken who crossed the road, our breakfast arrived – the fluffy Omelette adorned with dollops of labne and capsicum chilli jam, dotted with dill and served with a healthy side of creamy avocado and crisp sourdough, alongside the weekly special of sweet spiced butter-fried French Toast with poached rhubarb and pear, star anise and cinnamon, with whiffs of licorice wafting from the sourdough french, served with creme fraise and walnuts. A marriage of sweet and savoury, the two dishes embodied the cafe’s ambition of striving to gather quality ingredients to be prepared from scratch, designing food that is inherently simple yet modestly complex.
The coffee is rich and strong, with a dash of almond milk made in-house, so sweet it is drinkable on its own. Having roots at West End’s Wandering Cooks, Adam smirks at the uncomfortable confession he had to make to friends Alicia and Emma, owners of Genki Milk Co. “It was kind of embarrassing. I’m really good friends with Alicia and I didn’t know how to tell her we were going to make our own almond milk!”
A menu as diverse as the mismatched furniture crowded into the homely cafe, there is something for all, but in particular for vegans, who Adam is adamant he will always cater to. “As a staple for the menu I wanted to have a non-avocado, non-granola vegan dish that was always available. The quickest way we could do that was with a vegan toastie. Since then, we’ve also introduced the Cauliflower Kofta, which is a vegan and gluten free cauliflower with pickled beetroot and sous-vide carrot, buckwheat grouts all through it. That’s really delicious, but the vegan toastie became a bit of a favourite, so we couldn’t get rid of it.”
Next on the agenda for the welcoming abode is a dish that Adam hopes will divide foodies. “We’re trying to source a quality sardine or quality mackerel. We want to do sardines on toast. The theme of our food is old day food, and I think sardines on rye bread with a rich tomato sauce served with a lemon cream, dijon mustard sauce, will be very grandpa-themed. But I also think it’ll be a dish that splits the table. Sardines is something you either love or hate, and I love that table interaction of someone ordering it, with half the table hating sardines.”
Gramps Cafe is located at 110 Windsor Road in Red Hill, open 7am to 4pm weekdays, and until 2pm weekends.