Firstly, the sunny climate didn’t suit me. I’m the kind of person who complains it’s too hot when the mercury hits 20°C, covers myself head to toe in factor 50 and then worries I’m going to burn after 10 minutes in the shade.
Secondly, I’m pants at every single sport. In a country as exercise obsessed as Australia, it’s no good to be the guaranteed last pick in any kind of team sport.
Finally, I’m not a massive fan of killer spiders, killer snakes, killer jellyfish, killer sharks, killer kangaroos or killer koalas.
However, one thing that did impress me was the food. The barbecued meat; the stonkingly fresh fish and the Asian-fusion cooking all linger in the memory.
Bill Granger’s sunny, simple and eclectically influenced cooking sums up what Australian tucker is all about. As well as his four Australian restaurants, he owns three London branches of Granger & Co and outposts in Japan, Hawaii and South Korea.
We visited the Clerkenwell restaurant for his famous brunch. The bright and chic interior, our super-super-friendly Australian waitress and the menu of juices, fruits, freshly-baked cakes and healthy (sounding) hot plates transported me 10,000 miles across the planet.
A cold pressed concoction (£4.80) of green apple, cucumber, ginger, silver beet, chia & coconut water tasted far too healthy instead of tasty. Savoury rather than sweet, it reminded me of the liquid that settles at the bottom of a bowl of salad after it’s been sitting around a while.
In contrast, everyone else’s drinks were frigging lush. Bill’s Beets (£4.80) was a vivid, well-balanced combination of beetroot, carrot, fennel & apple whilst Sunrise (£3.50) was breakfast in a cup - a sweet, tangy combination of berries, banana, apple, yoghurt and orange.
The pick of the bunch was a watermelon and lime frappe (£4.50) - the combination of smooth ice slush, refreshing watermelon and zesty lime was greater than the sum of its parts.
Sweet corn fritters (£13.50) were two golden frisbees of light batter studded with sweetcorn, peppers and spring onion. The accompaniments brought the supremely comforting carb-cakes alive. Bacon rashers were flame-grilled with an unmistakeable lick of char, roast tomatoes were semi-dehydrated giving them a meaty sun-dried tomato-like quality and a splodge of avocado salsa (£2.80) punched through the dish's richness.
Broken eggs (£8.80) were very good - essentially a skillet cooked omelette meets eggs Florentine mash-up, they were served with dollops of creamy ricotta, wilted spinach, fiery chilli and toasted sourdough. A side order of vegemite sadly never arrived.
The final dish (£13.80) let itself down in its focus on health over flavour. Flakes of excellent hot tea-smoked salmon were joined by a tasty yet functional combination of steamed kale, coriander, poached eggs, avocado and cherry tomatoes. There’s no doubting the quality of the produce but the overall impression was of a number of disparate ingredients chucked on the plate.
A side of miso chestnut mushrooms (£3.80) were a delicious double-umami hit.
A cake display carried a bounty of captivating looking treats.
I ordered a phenomenal coconut and passionfruit slice (£3). Moist and dense like a brownie, it was topped with lime twanged icing and pearls of fragrant passionfruit.
Granger & Co is a great brunch spot. It may be a bit on the pricey side but it’s cheaper than getting a return ticket to Bondi for breakfast.
Address - Granger & Co, 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1R 0HA
Telephone - 020 7251 9032