Dinner Review: Grumpy's Green
Grumpy's Green is tucked away in that grey area of Smith Street where gentrification has taken hold exactly the right amount - you can take your pick of delightful cosy little bars and still get shived on your way to the ATM.
The decor is tasteful, fun and a little bit quirky. The menus are printed inside vintage children's story books. The lighting is nice, the staff are friendly but unobtrusive - in many ways it would be the perfect place to while away a day or two luxuriating, chewing your jaw off - although on this occasion we were here for the food.
The bar has a foot firmly in the environmental camp, and the menu reflects that, leaning heavily on environmentally sustainable vegetarian dishes. It skirts a line of fashionable modern reinventions of pub classics with inspiration from Mediterranean tapas and Japanese izakaya style bar food that takes just enough risk to be interesting. You'll find little treats like a soydog with asparagus, caramelised onion, mustard and sauerkraut alongside a tempeh chilli and black bean quesadilla. The menu is extensive, delicious and fun - whoever is behind the menu isn't afraid to flex their creative muscles.
There are two token meat dishes, both organic, both hormone free. We enjoyed the Kangaroo fillet, which comes marinated in chermoula, grilled rare and served on an eggplant, kumara and spinach stack. It's an adventurous dish, but kangaroo is an unforgiving meat at best and I suspect that the chef behind this dish is a vegetarian.
Which isn't a bad thing; the focus is on fun, flavoursome vegetable dishes, and these are well worth the modest price tags attached to them. The kefalograviera is a fine example of a classic drinking dish, slightly tweaked. Two chick slices of fried kefalograviera (saganaki cheese) comes served with crisp flatbread and caramelised lemon shards, along with a shot of vodka which is used to flambé the cheese just before you tuck in. It's really good. It's all really pretty good; a great bar with excellent food.
Grumpy's Green is located at 125 Smith Street, Fitzroy. Opening hours are 10am-1am on Saturdays and Sundays, and 12pm-1am on Mondays-Fridays.