Mon-Sun: 7.30am - 3.30am
“A good brunch environment provides a warm atmosphere with a sense of delight. A fantastic brunch environment shouts out “amazing”, with the feeling you’re in for a treat. Pope Joan is very much in the latter category, with a beautifully organised outfit, aspiring decor and amazing food. The location itself is impressive and quite unexpected, being on the ever busy and industrial area of Nicholson Street, Brunswick.
Pope Joan is occupied in a long house-like structure. In the front of the premise is the traditional cafe style setup. There is the open kitchen and barista work station, with the usual assortment of table and chairs. Walk outside and you are greeted with long row of seating arrangements and furniture designs, providing flexibility for group sizes. We sat on park benches with a glass top table on synthetic grass, giving a real ‘backyard’ feel. They even offer milk crates with comfy seating.
The coffee bean selection is quite unique, serving coffee by Allpress, a speciality espresso roasting company from New Zealand. They offer a variety of beans to select from. My long black was ordered and presented in a beautiful manner. The colour of the head was an enticing tan wood colour, which was a delight on such a beautiful day. The taste of the coffee was amazing. The initial taste was clean and offered a sweet aftertaste. It also embodied a strong and pleasant coffee aroma. To be blunt, it was a pretty damn good coffee to start the day and had complemented the meal well.
The menu was very impressive and innovative and when David’s pork belly, scrambled eggs, hazelnuts & watercress [$19] was served, I was quite excited to dig in. The plating was magnificent – perfectly layered and very sophisticated. The pork belly had a defined smoked taste which was very prominent and divine. Mixing the pork with the hazelnuts and chilli sauce provides a delectable taste that not only marries well but makes you cry out for more. The eggs were scrambled well and the baby spinach and poached tomato added a refreshing taste, which was needed to balance the prominent flavours of the pork. I was a little concern that the dish may have been too heavy, however, apart from having one slice of toast, the portion size was perfect.
Tasting Miss SLs meal, I felt I was experiencing an entirely different but terrific brunch. It had a very summery taste, combined with cool and fresh ingredients. The dish gives the impression of being light but it would without a doubt would have been filling. It was creatively plated and thought out. Even the toast was cooled before serving to ensure the heat didn’t compromise the meal.
Pope Joan is a special brunch place which I would recommend to anyone who is up for a fantastic experience. The menu literary pushes the boundaries to give a unique brunch experience that incorporates fine dining and cafe style food. Look out for Pope Joan, because they are serious in delivering top food!”
“On a sunny Sunday morning, Mr LB and I set out to go meet our friend The Rabbit for an early morning breakfast at Pope Joan – the new establishment by Matt Wilkinson (ex-head chef at Circa, The Prince) and Ben Foster (ex- General Manage of Kent Hotel, Carlton). After circling Nicholson Street in the middle of an industrial area three times, we finally pulled over and realised that Google Maps had not being lying to us about the location.
The interior to Pope Joan offered a number of surprises - you walk in to what you expect is just a regular cafe, but head left and down a narrow garden path (astroturf and all) to find it strewn with tables, park benches and crates covered with tiles. We situated ourselves on a park bench and after waiting a good 10 minutes for a waiter to come passed, we finally ordered our coffees and meals. After waiting for what seemed a lifetime, I decided to explore the venue and found various families that had situated themselves at the end of the pathway. There were children playing make-believe next to the garden patch growing fresh herbs for the venue, lifting the vibe of Pope Joan instantly (although perhaps this was only because the kids were cute and not crying).
After about 10:30am the service at the venue seemed to pick up, with more waiters on hand and our water glasses constantly being refilled. When our meals finally came out I must say I was impressed. The plating of my Smoked tomato, zucchini, Meredith feta & poached eggs [$16] was delightful – it was effortless, colourful and all round tempting.
The toast was barely warm but crisp – and on a hot day, a cool breakfast was just what I needed. The cucumber and lightly spiced tomato were also cool, but not so much as the refreshingly chilled feta cheese. My first bites of the dish made me feel instantly relaxed; the soft cucumber mixed with gooey egg and creamy feta cheese were heavenly. The tomato had an interesting flavour attached to it, which I couldn’t quite pick but rather enjoyed regardless.
I was two down on the Allpress coffee – my compliments to the barista – and couldn’t help but think that this would be the perfect place to relax on a lazy day and read a magazine. I was already full when Mr LB suggested brunch dessert, and after perusing the cake shelves we decided on the Cherry Tart [$5.50] to share. This was definitely not the highlight of our experience here. While the cherries on top of the tart were amazing fresh, the tart itself was dry and unimpressive. It was also an odd coupling of flavours – the orange flavour of the cake and sweet glaze was a strange contrast to the sweetness of the cherries.
Despite the tart, I found Pope Joan to be inspirational – the menu was creative and clever, the produce was fresh, and the place had an amazingly relaxed vibe that was very family-friendly. The menu changes regularly depending on produce availability, ensuring that regulars never get bored and the chefs remain challenged and inspired.”
Final thought: “Creative and inspirational menu”
Worth Noting: In a few months “The Bishop of Ostia” will be offering holy drinks next door to Pope Joan.