Mon- Fri: 7am- 4pm
Sat- Sun: 8am- 4pm
Coffee: 5 Senses House roasted blend, various blends & Single origin coffee blends, Clover
Other: Large assortment of Tea
“How long does it take for three judges’ to screw in a light bulb? An entirety, because they will order the other judge to screw the light bulb and effectively create an inventibly never-ending circle. While the Comedy festival in Melbourne was on this month it is pretty evident that waiting a long time for brunch isn’t a very funny joke. While we had a demanding seven mouths to feed, the brunch event turned into a “brunch journey”. It may have been a case of missing kitchen staff, being a Sunday, or a fundamental issue had unexpectedly arisen. I am a big fan of Proud Mary, but it was upsetting and disheartening to watch the amount of business being turned away. But that is enough of that….
Proud Mary is located in the very classy and up and coming food spot of Collingwood. Its location is clever, just off Smith Street and parked on the ground floor of a classic Collingwood bricked warehouse and converted apartments. The decor itself is seductive with hanging lights and impressive felt wallpaper for the feature wall.
As we waited, I ordered a take away long back of Proud Mary’s roasted house blend [$4.00]. It is always difficult to taste and smell coffee when its poured into a paper cup. It was quite enjoyable to drink and it had a desirable, smooth taste. It tasted of a high quality coffee that I would love to further explore. I felt however, that there was some work involved to match the standard of Seven Seeds. With that said, I look forward to see how the brand develops.
An interesting element of Proud Mary is their large selection of high quality tea. There is no T2 tin - rather tea is prepared by following recipes with set portions and temperatures. Their selection is a whopping page long with a number of foreign teas to explore. Being a coffee guy, my experience with tea is limited to say the least. Having scanned the seemingly endless list I decided to go with the finger selection and picked a Darjeeling tea [$5]. The presentation was very impressive, coming out in a slick whisky-like glass. The tea had relaxed flavours with no one flavour being overpowering. It was very calming and was well-suited for a morning tea with the right portion. However, Miss SL’s Iced tea portion (in my opinion) was excessive and had the effect of diluting the flavours.
Having previously been to Proud Mary‘s before, the menu itself is very exciting. It is fresh with worthy contenders which literally puts you into two minds when deciding. Being a big pork belly fan my decision was simple: Pork Belly Sandwich: roasted pork belly, smoked paprika relish, aioli [$15.5]. Pork Belly is such an interesting dish with its ability of having different interpretation and presentation. Upon arrival it did look like a simple sandwich. However, don’t be fooled by its cunning, as this dish was surprisingly tasty.
The pork was soft and succulent which melted in my mouth with very bite I took. The relish gave a friendly spicy flavour and the pepper kick mixed with the creamy aioli texture, really highlighting the pork flavours. However, the real winner for me which made this ‘unch’ meal fantastic was the bread. The bread was prepare by being dip in a sweet and sour mixture, infusing the flavours. All in all, this dish was impressive with its innovation but not as filling as I would have expected.
After the pork belly sandwich, I was still peckish and persuade Miss SL for brunch-dessert. After careful consideration on what to share, we had successfully settled on the Mini blueberry cheesecake [$5.00]. The cheesecake was quite moist and full of flavour and for the first time this day we had both agreed that it was an outstanding dish. The blueberries were freshly preserved after the baking process with no sign of a dried fruity taste. The cheesecake texture had that desirable level of sugary taste, which was neither dull nor sickening. It was a brilliant little take away and had definantly made our day.
Irrespective of our individual experience, Proud Mary should be tried. It’s a brunch cafe that hasn’t taken any short cuts in providing an extensive range of coffee blends, coffee brew types and high quality tea. The menu was equally exciting with well thought out flavours and creative dishes. I do agree that improvements do need to be implemented. So the question becomes, when would you go? If you have the patience then the weekend, but try and avoid the “brunch peak time” of 11am-1pm. Otherwise, if for one reason or another you find yourself free or not working on a week day and keen for something exciting, then treat your proud day off at Proud Mary.”
“It was a crisp Sunday morning and The Rabbit, Mr Pen and Miss M were waiting outside Proud Mary, informing me that they had already put their name down and it was a 45 minute wait for a table. Forty-five minutes! We decided to get some take-away coffees and sit outside. After all, the main reason we wanted to go there was not only because they served 5 senses coffee – but also because the coffee machine was custom-made and worth $40,000! Yes you heard me, a coffee machine more expensive than St Ali‘s $30,000 beauty.
We huddled inside to keep warm and waited what seemed like a good ten minutes for our takeaways to be ready. I’d ordered a soy mocha [$4] and was desperately waiting for warmth to be in my possession. While ordering, I took note of the delicious looking treats near the counter…brunch-dessert was a must.
Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by my continued experiences of some of Melbourne’s best coffee roasting houses, but I couldn’t really tell the difference in quality between my (well made) soy mocha and any other great roasting house. Eventually, 47 minutes after arrival we were seated, only to be be informed by the waitress that there was a bit of a wait on food. I was trying to make the best of what was becoming an increasingly frustrating situation and ordered an Iced tea [$4].
It was a little bitter, and while the cucumber and mint gave it a beautiful Pimms look, it didn’t contribute anything much to the flavour, unlike the lemon. I was ravished and decided to order the Potato Hash – asparagus, bacon, poached eggs, bagna cauda (a traditional Italian sauce made up of anchovies, garlic, olive oil and butter) [$16.50].
While the service at Proud Mary seemed rather efficient, there was obviously a process disconnect with the kitchen, which seemed to be slow and lagging in getting dishes out the door. To put it in perspective, it took a further 45 minutes for my brunch to come out. That’s ridiculous by anyone’s standards, even mine!
So let’s start with the potato hash. Clearly hand-made in the morning, this gorgeous piece of work was crafted out of potatoes that were boiled, cut into strings, and bound together. Soft but crisp, the potatoes were the right consistency, but unfortunately lacked punch. There needed to be a bit more salt in the hash, and perhaps some additional herbs. The bacon was fatty, and looked like it had been cooked in an unclean pan.
The asparagus was beautiful – crisp, sauteed in what tasted like balsamic vinegar and salty, this was the star of the dish. The bagna cauda was also lovely, but lost almost all it’s flavour when absorbed into the hash. Apart from size, the poached egg was gorgeous. It oozed out a soft yellow colour, indicating that it was hormone-free.
Miss M ordered the Lamb Kofte – spiced chickpeas, labneh, almond burnt butter [$17]:
Mr D ordered the Chipotle beans – cornbread, crisp pork belly, poached egg [$16.50] (below). I had a cheeky taste of his dish, and must say that the cornbread was delicious – almost like french toast!
Overall the decision between us was that, while our food was “nice”, it wasn’t worth the wait that we all had to endure. Mr LB assures me he had been the previous Saturday and did not wait nearly as long, even with a large entourage. Perhaps I would give Proud Mary another go sometime with just Mr LB. The food might taste better when I haven’t been waiting waiting so long.”
Final thought: “Melting pork belly in a sandwich”