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I’m usually up for trying anything new when it comes to food but when I first heard about a 100% vegan brunch from one of the participants at Brunch Stories, I have to admit I was sceptical. Will it lack flavour or variety compared to a standard brunch menu? Is it just for people who eat very healthy or have dietary restrictions? After trying the brunch at La Grainerie, I’m happy to report none of these things were true. I quite liked it and thought it might be something for you too, if you’re keen on tasting something new and out of the ordinary.

La Grainerie is a small grocery store not too far from Chatelain where one can buy several products offered in bulk to reduce waste and sold by weight. As you might have guessed by the name, it specialises in grains, seeds and nuts but you can equally find oil, coffee, dried fruits, wine, vinegar, spices, tea as well as superfoods – all organic and in reasonable prices. In the back there’s also a tiny space with just a few tables serving lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends.

So there I was, right before my Christmas break in Athens, ready for my very first all-vegan, lactose-free brunch experience. Marie and Sullivan welcomed my partner in crime and I and explained the various options on the menu – not too many but all really interesting. There are three formulas of 2 (15€), 3 (19€) or 4 (22€) dishes per person which include coffee, tea or sobacha and juice. Since we wanted to try different things, we went for three small dishes each which didn’t sound like a lot but proved to be more than enough to keep us going until dinner that day.

Our choices were: gingerbread, vegetable pâté and date chutney; pumpkin-shiitake tart with pine nuts; quinoa and millet croquettes with beetroot ketchup; grain bread and seaweed tartare; amaranth porridge with mango curd and raw chocolate cake with hazelnut and pistachio. I really appreciated the creativity and despite the fact that some of the elements were a little too dry for my taste, I enjoyed overall the different flavours. The experience exceeded my expectations and while I’m not ready to trade the traditional brunch that I love so much for the healthy option, La Grainerie convinced me that vegan doesn’t mean boring or tasteless.

Address: Rue de Tenbosch 112, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 2179827
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*UPDATE: Unfortunately, La Grainerie is now closed.*

Sandy (@smarksthespots)