172 oxford street, collingwood
ph: (03) 9417 5930
Proud Mary ‘s popularity is undeniable. You’re likely to see their brand on menus or shelves in other cafes, Urbanspoon, Broadsheet, the innumerable food blogs and probably on your foodie friend’s Facebook feeds. My last visit was over a year ago and since that fated meal, brunch has never been the same.
PM combines modernity with industrialism, places finesse in its food, and abolishes guilt from gluttony. You can’t help but notice the quality in every plate of brunchy goodness and cup of coffee that comes out of its kitchen and expensive, unique, custom-made Six-group Synesso Hydra Machine. Unless of course you order a syphon, pour-over, french press, chemex or cold drip. Yep, they do it all!
Many cafe’s pride themselves on their coffee, but Proud Mary is at the Helm (of course, along with others like the Seven Seeds line up, St Ali and Market Lane). Good coffee needs flavour and balance. Good cafes needs consistency – and that’s what PM has. But if you’re not a beany person, then despair not – teas, juices, smoothies and granitas are right there waiting for you. We had the blood orange granita and it is was so refreshing – a nice balance between its tartness, sweetness and iciness.
PM has a menu that will keep you seesawing between dishes right up to the point where the waiter/ress asks “Are you ready to order yet?” Indeed, you can’t help but want to order everything (or is that just me?). Regulars to p-alate, C and K, ordered…
Crisp Pork Belly Sandwich with smoked paprika relish and aioli
The Pork Belly is one of PM’s veteran dishes, having stayed on the menu for a long time due to its popularity. So simple but so well executed, the tender pork exudes rich flavours so much so that “even the bread tastes like pork” (quoted by C).
Wild Mushrooms with truffled soft polenta, a poached egg and parmesan crumb
A very generous dish that is beautifully plated. The polenta had lovely texture and worked well with the occasional burst of flavour from the crumbed parmesan. The mushrooms themselves were very juicy and bouncy but in general were not a highlight.
McIvor Farm Pork Ragu braised for 24 hours, house made pappardelle and shaved parmesan
If only most Italian restaurants could do it like this. The braised pork melted in your mouth, the pasta had good resistance and the tomato and fennel flavours emanate throughout the dish to bring it all together.
Some friends ask me what the fuss is all about with PM, but when they go – they understand. C and K were very quick to return the next week with their friends, and I’m sure many more friends of friends will be brought along to Melbourne’s Best Cafe (as voted by The Good Cafe Guide 2012)
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