Heading to the beachside suburbs of Melbourne is now a day-trip for my northside self. But not only is it geographically distant, it’s almost a foreign land compared to my local hood (which centers around the Un-Safeway of Smith Street). This is a land where fake boobs bob perkily above skinny soy decaf lattes, where women aim to emulate the look of cinnamon sticks and no one has anything but swishy layered hair. I didn’t even notice the men, I was so astounded by these exotic birds of Brighton.
Pantry sits in the heart of Church Street and it’s the perfect place for the Brighton set – sleek, shiny and white. The menu contains standards-with-a-twist with a wee Brighton-price premium and our meals were healthy, delicious and nicely presented. I had seared yellow fin tuna with diced tomato and an outstanding salad of finely shredded cabbage, dill and parmesan shavings ($24) – the salad definitely outshined the rather tasteless cubes of fish.
J had an omelette of mushrooms, spinach and ricotta with a tomato and basil salsa ($17.50) and L ordered the open chicken sandwich with avocado, mayonnaise, honey seeded mustard – and a quarter head of lettuce ($17). Both dishes looked quite nice and drew neither criticisms or accolades.
L has been eating at Pantry since she was a teenager and I can see why it’s sustained business for the last 16 years. It’s a winning formula – good solid food + relaxed surroundings + friendly service. I wouldn’t cross town for it, but it’s a nice place to hang out on the weekend if you’re in the area.