Johnston St Food Store, the impromptu brunch.

With my explicit admittance of defeat, slump into sadness and inability to reach out to those around me, I have also pulled back from discovering new things.

After a 4 moth hiatus from the Slow Food Market and the confirmation of having torn the ligaments in my foot, I am convinced through a series of tweets to hop a bus go to the convent.  There, I am greeted by Essjayeff, highly efficient and equally caffeinated, having completed her market shop by half nine.

She also made it to the front of the coffee line where I am told that my Tweet-order of an espresso was almost declined.  Of course, we run into Jeroxie ordering a pig’s head for the Chang torchon recipe (which is actually the best thing I could ever imagine doing to it) and her parner determined to eat through his cold pastries.

All these people and the Pandora I picked up from the Holy Goat ladies (who just racked up a handful of cheese making awards, and once jokingly offered to supply my wedding with the cheese if my friend proposed to me in front of their stand) seemed to make getting out of bed a little less shit.

Of course with the dual cynicism of EssJay and myself, we begin our hyperactive rants in a car towards La Latteria.

Big fucking cheese love.

I won’t tell you exactly how much cheese I bought this Saturday, but if I put it in a dress, you would be able to mistaken it for a small child.  That, and I wanted to kiss all the women there when they went out back and made the burrata from scratch.  When high on coffee, I can only compare the cheese-buying to the eating of crap when drunk.

More ranting ensues and we end up at the newly opened Johnston St Food Store.  The place wouldn’t seat any more than 20 people, with less than 10 items on their menu (mostly sweets), a selection of hard-to-perish fruits along with frou-frou dry goods, a liquor license, a rockin’ barista, and a fit-out which looks like a combination of Industria and Ikea,  EssJay and I decide to play a game of discovery.

This first visit had me hooked, but that may have just been the curried egg sandwich, $5.80.

I love curried egg sandwiches, especially when they’re inappropriately slathered in salted butter.  What I didn’t understand is why they would charge an extra 20c for getting it toasted, especially when their bite-sized financiers are $3.50 a pop.

Somewhat outrageous.

I also don’t understand why they are calling themselves a providore and serving tomatoes in Winter.  Furthermore, upon my second visit, they had a caprese salad as one of their salads of the day.

*shakes head*

But of course, with two overly cynical women driven purely by frustration and spite, the vanilla poached pears with yogurt and honey managed to soothe EssJay.

What am I kidding, we still ranted, but at least we enjoyed our food.

EssJay’s serve of brioche.  I didn’t try any, but I guess brioche is one of those things which are hard to fuck up, especially when you’re buying it from a supplier and you only need to slice and toast it.

So where am I going with this?

This place is good and has the potential to be awesome, but it has to find its personality first.  It seems they need to be doing more of what they want, rather than what they think the customers in the area want.  They sell dry goods, they sell fruit, they sell oils, they sell smoked trout, they sell cheese, they sell wine, they have ice buckets labelled with Bollinger and Veuve Clicquot, but don’t serve it and their opening hours can be somewhat confusing.  The kitchen obviously knows what they’re doing in terms of flavour, with limited and constantly changing menus, but probably need to stick to the seasons more.

I’d happily go here on a regular basis for a coffee and a sandwich, poached fruits, pannacottas and a drink, but for the moment, they seem a little confused.  Hopefully in a couple of months, they will be settled and sorted, but that is not to say they are not worth a visit.

Johnston St Foodstore

256 Johnston St,
Fitzroy, 3065

(03) 9416 1118

6 thoughts on “Johnston St Food Store, the impromptu brunch.

  1. Went there despite your very muddled review, coffee was a cracker, servece was friendly and fast, took away a lasagna for dinner which proved delicious. I say, welcome to my neighborhood JSFS, see you again soon!

  2. Good review thankyou. I agree, they’re confused. They also need to change their coffee beans and barrista. An in house coffee was passable.. a week later I got a take away that went straight in the bin. Sorry – that’s not really forgivable in Melbourne.

  3. Yes, I totally agree this place is still trying its feet and considering it initially took forever to open (when everything looked ready to go for month), it is somewhat puzzling. However, the negative comments about the coffee are puzzling too since I am fussy about my coffee and their coffee is up there with the best in Melbourne. But methinks it is all a matter of taste…

  4. Confused seems to be a reoccurring theme, and several months down the track hasn’t dissipated. It’s pitched as a foodstore, with a focus on local artisan produce and an in-house chef. Over priced jams on a shelf does not a foodstore make, nor does uninspired potato salad and soggy foccacias from a former one hat chef. It all looks good on the surface, but lacks passion or personality.

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