The Green Refectory, Brunswick

Ever since I turned foodie, my liking for all things vintage has soared through the roof, to the point where I wanted my whole house decorated with ancient furnishings and decorations collected from op shops and junk yards. I loved everything with peeling paint and rusty metals and rustic wood that had been worn with old age. Too bad it’s not something Yuye likes or can even appreciate, calling my collection ‘old crap’.

I’m sure some of you will understand me.

I’m also in love with dining at similarly rustic establishments. Maybe that’s why I love brunch/coffee places so much since so many of them have such decor these days. I was so excited when I visited The Green Refectory in Brunswick the other week since it’s been on my wish list for quite some time.

I know, you can call me crazy, but I loved their driftwood looking tables and mismatched chairs that I asked Yuye ‘is it bad if I bought mismatched chairs for our dining room?’ I’m sure I don’t need to tell you his answer. But it is true that I love the look. I’m also hyperventilating looking at the above photo right now…I want everything on that shelf!

I also loved the back alley and flower pots on the walls. If the weather was a bit warmer, I would have preferred to sit outside to enjoy that lovely atmosphere. It somehow makes me feel more alive.

The dishes on offer was quite extensive and was all written on a board at the front counter. It was a bit overwhelming having to decide while staring at so many words and while standing up too.

I settled for the Eggs Benedict with grilled tomato and ham. At just $10, I thought it was great value. The portion size was quite good too and looked and smelt lovely. Although not the best looking poached eggs I’ve seen, the egg yolk was perfectly runny and the hollandaise was creamy and delicious. The grilled tomatoes came on a third piece of muffin which was thoughtful and made the dish quite a lot large than usual.

Yuye ordered the breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, ham, mushroom, tomato and fresh herbs in a tortilla wrap topped with a whole lot of cheese. All this for $10 as well? It’s insane! I did find the contents of the wrap slightly mushed up and didn’t look as pretty when I cut into it and it was slightly watery and a tiny bit on the bland side, but still quite an enjoyable dish.

As we were not expecting such large dishes, even with our combined effort, we could not totally finish the burrito. All that cheese and eggs really filled me up quick, which was a shame.

What I was a little bit disappointed with was their coffees. I was expecting a strong, aromatic hit but unfortunately the taste of the coffees didn’t leave much impact at all. The reason, I think, was that they use Illy coffee beans which are pre-roasted and ground. Leaving beans out for a while makes the aromas go away and subsequently makes not as nice coffees.

If you’re not feeling too hungry, there is also the option of ordering one of the delicious looking cakes at the front counter. It was too bad I was already way too full for those…

The waitstaff here were very young. I had read reviews about the supposed bad service here so didn’t have high expectations but they were all quite friendly and I didn’t feel at all like they were snobbish. The only downside was the fact that we had to line up to order at the counter, which at busy times, I can see how this can be annoying and of course the less than optimum coffee experience. The cafe was also a bit too cramped so movement between tables were hindered. Other than that the food was value for money, tasty and the decor was inviting so for the food alone, I would come back again if I was in the neighbourhood.

Question time: Do you like collecting vintage items and visiting rustic cafes like this? Or are you like Yuye and consider vintage things ‘junk’?

The Green Refectory
Phone: (03) 9387 1150
115 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC 3056

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9 comments… add one
  • Peach November 18, 2012, 8:35 pm

    Im with you on that one! I love vintage shops! even before my foodie days. But I guess it’s probably the design side within me that gets me all excited inside about vintage and retro stuff 😛

  • yummychunklet November 19, 2012, 11:41 am

    Fun looking place!

  • Ames November 19, 2012, 3:02 pm

    I knew this place as ‘Greens’ for a long time so wasn’t quite familiar with it until I looked at the pictures and realised that this is actually my favourite cafe in Brunswick! Love the feel of it and I think I’m like you in the sense that my liking for vintage things only happened after I started food blogging :)

  • Brendan November 19, 2012, 7:07 pm

    Wide Open Road across the street has better coffee I think.

    This is also the busiest cafe I know of. I was there Sunday lunch time (absolute PEAK) time and the line for ordering was long and hazardous. I don’t recognise your outside photo without people.

    The good thing though is that it is open until 6, and there is plenty of food ready at the counter until close. I won’t bring people here to brunch on the weekend but it makes a good, late, last resort.

  • Choc Chip Uru November 20, 2012, 7:05 am

    What a refreshing restaurant my friend, there are so many wonderful eats and an awesome atmosphere 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet November 22, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I love vintage places :) and wow it is really generous and value for money with those large dishes for only $10!!! A shame about the coffee though…and I much prefer table service than having to queue and pay at the counter

  • Olivia November 23, 2012, 2:01 am

    Hi Jenny! I share your liking of anything vintage. I love to buy small things vintage for my house and also for my little restaurant. I am from Toronto where we have a good number of vintage shops that will please anyone. It feel like vintage shops here are one of the highlights of the city since these shops are really good! And, you do not need a lot money to shop there. If you ever come close, pay a visit to of these shops. You will be delighted by the range and the quality!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook November 24, 2012, 1:04 am

    I don’t know how you take pictures at restaurants and cafes. You take such great pictures on the field (as well as at your “studio”). When I visit Australia, I’d love to hang out with you, Jenny. 😀 You know all the good spots! And antiques… I love them too, but my husband on the other hand is into modern stuff…. we’re so opposite!

  • choux choux December 2, 2012, 10:55 pm

    OMG this place sounds amazing! i love the whole “vintage” look too! I guess the rustic appearance of old furniture just gives it a bit of character.


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