Debbie visits: The Grain Lab

by Debbie Knowles - Dec 08, 2023

Crux sales manager Debbie Knowles is regularly out and about visiting businesses big and small for work - she meets people with passion who help make our district special. Got a suggestion for a sweet spot for Debbie to stop? Get in touch and let her know!

Presenting The Grain Lab, owned by long-term local Olga Rukina – located perfectly next to the Coffee Hatch on Shotover Street. Grab some nutritious and delicious brekkie while waiting for your coffee! With a career in IT, Olga had a vision for healthy, speedy, wholesome breakfasts that are also nourishing and warm in winter.

Sourcing only New Zealand ingredients and as many local, organic products as possible, The Grain Lab caters to all palettes - whether you have a savoury or a sweet tooth, the menu has been carefully crafted and curated so there’s something for everyone, with bursts of flavour and texture aplenty (I know texture is important as I watch a lot of MasterChef).

After visiting this week, I must say that Olga has worked some magic utilising such a small place. Each dish is made fresh to order, and the granola bars are actually glued with honey, or maple syrup for the vegan option – eliminating the need for baking. Great initiative and, after a sample, they are indeed very tasty. These are also available to local companies in town for tourist trips, so if you’re looking for some new fresh, tasty snacks for your customers remember The Grain Lab is centrally located and has catering available.

I must also not forget Fernanda! While Olga is in the back office biz, Fernanda is generally the face you’ll be greeted by and she’s bloody lovely! Originally from Brazil, she introduced the cheesy (halloumi) banana bites to the menu - a Brazilian dessert-turned-breakfast sensation. I was planning to go back and sample this unique, delightful-sounding concoction after a meeting in town but thanks to my parking ticket almost running out (oops), I could not - so maybe one of our readers will get there before me and let me know the verdict ([email protected])!

On the day of meeting Olga and Fernanda, I opted for the Brynn Chunky Strawberry Bowl – a smoothie bowl with chunky strawberries and heaps of texture (important) from the added seeds and nuts. It certainly made a refreshing change from the usual sausage and bacon bap - I’m guilty of a cooked, rather unhealthy breakfast as I’m sure many of us are, but next time I’m in town for brekkie I’ll skip the Maccas (guilty as charged) and head straight to The Grain Lab for a guilt-free and flavoursome start to my day. Perfect location if you’re on your way up to the gondy too - whether you’re an avid mountain biker or just cruising around the CBD, The Grain Lab is the perfect pit stop.

Keep an eye out for seasonal menu changes, to ensure they’re using the freshest and best produce and perhaps some new additions. Open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 2.30pm, this little hatch is worth a regular visit. Although The Grain Lab is relatively new to the scene, it’s a fantastic wee addition to the CBD and not one to be just walked past. Forget the burger, get some cheesy banana - skip the usual and support local!

Also, please don’t forget to give The Grain Lab a cheeky follow on Facebook and Instagram to check out their menu and updates.

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