Mon – Fri: 8am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8:30am – 4pm
Coffee: All Press
Note: Cash only
Cop-y [noun] – an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original
“There is a saying, ‘don’t change a winning game’. Changing a winning formula only brings about risk, uncertainty and possibly a world of pain. Would a successful cafe that wanted to expand, copy their winning formula to a new location or risk changing things up? Some food franchises make bucket loads of cash, but in my opinion they are so far way from the Melbourne brunch mark. Maybe the answer isn’t in the brand but rather in the delivery. Provide the right ambiance, the same or similar dishes in another location and with a different name can achieve a successful expansion whilst retaining the cool factor. Snow Pony is one example. Located in Balwyn, it brings all of the quality and ambiance as its older brother cafe, Porgie + Mr Jones.
Walking into Snow Pony, you may find yourself a little confused – in a good way. The street itself has a prominent business-park theme, with a lot of grey coloured structures and industrial workshops. Once inside, it’s like you have been transported into a cool inner city cafe. The décor comprises of a dark wood theme which runs throughout the cafe, highlighted by carefully positioned light fixtures. There are even paintings on the wall to give some much needed culture. On the weekend the place is buzzing with people and their chitter chatter.
I ordered my long black [$3.50] and was happily reading the menu and newspaper whilst listening to Radiohead, which was playing in the background. The coffee here is by Allpress and it came out hot and fast. There were dark flavours to this long black and it was slightly bitter tasting. It was still a good coffee to kick start the day and, given the location, probably the best going around.
I was in the mood for eggs, so I went for the Giddy Up – poached eggs, bacon, slow roasted tomato, avocado + thyme buttered mushies [$18.90]. I adjusted my order, asking for scrambled eggs. I usually take notes on my phone and the first word that came I wrote was ‘awesome’. This meal was delectable and the scrambled eggs were soft, buttery and nicely wrapped around the bread. The bacon was cooked well, but it was the mushrooms which certainly made this dish. They were prepare to perfection with the right amout of butter used to give a lovely soft taste and provided a true balsamic hit to the palate. It was a meal that was not only enjoyable but quite filling- a real winner.
It’s safe to say that Snow Pony is one of the better cafes within its surrounding area. Delivering not only a cool cafe environment but also high quality food and coffee. I do like the fact that the Porgie + Mr Jones’ restauratear has seen the opportunity to deliver inner city cafe quality to the outer suburbs. It’s a step forward that enhances Melbourne ability to be continually known for its food and for the fact that you don’t have to drive to the city to get a great meal.”
“Deja vu. It’s the feeling you get when you feel like you’ve already experienced a certain situation, even though you haven’t. It’s a freakish situation to be in – particularly if you start to predict things that are about to happen. A theory by scientist Edward B. Titcher is that deja vu is caused by briefly looking at an object or situation prior to full conscious perception, creating a sense of familiarity. It wasn’t my lack of conscious perception that created this sensation when Mr LB and I walked into Snow Pony, but our recent visit to Porgie + Mr Jones which immediately gave me a sense of familiarity.
It’s no coincidence that the decor of Snow Pony resonates so closely with Porgie + Mr Jones. Its black walls and old-fashioned, low hanging lanterns channel the same casual, moody environment that its brother cafe does. What was surprising was Mr LB’s first comment when we sat down.
“Does Snow Pony have the same owners as Friends of Mine?” he asked. What a strange question.
The week before we said farewell to The Rabbit at Friends of Mine where Mr LB had ordered the Toasted Banana bread w/ maple syrup mascarpone, fresh banana, berry compote + crush pistachio [$14.90]. The first thing I had said when his meal came out was how similar it looked to the famous photo I’d always seen circulating many of Melbourne’s food blogs for Snow Pony. It never occurred to me that they had the same owner. A quick Google revealed that, yes, Snow Pony was in fact owned by the same group as Friends of Mine and it immediately became apparent when I looked around the venue.
Art streamlined the dark walls and behind the counter was a large painting of a child cheekily poking his head out. As the middle child, Snow Pony provided that perfect link between the two venues. The menu here is a replica of Porgie + Mr Jones with little changes in the breakfast department.
When we last reviewed Porgie + Mr Jones, Mr LB lamented that he didn’t get the Fabulous herb + cheesy toast [$9.90] w/ eggplant kasundi [$11.90] w/ bacon [$12.90] or both [$13.90]. He wasn’t in the mood today, so I took up the opportunity and ordered it with both the kasundi and bacon. YUM!
It arrived and the first thing I noted was how odd it was that all the kasundi was on one slice of toast, and all the bacon on the other. I didn’t let that stop me though as I tucked into the soft multigrain bread, which was perfectly fluffy. The bread here is done by the magnificent Noisette.
The kasundi was powerful and tasty. The spicy flavours created a deliciously strong force to be reckoned with, and I felt the urge for something fresh, stealing some of Mr LBs delicious avocado.
For dessert, we ordered the Millionaire’s shortbread w/ salted caramel, dark chocolate and pure gold leaf [$5]. This was an interesting one as Mr LB and I had completely different experiences of the same slice. For me, it was hard to handle at first. All I could taste was dense, buttery caramel. As I kept eating it, however, I came to appreciate the gently undertone that the dark chocolate gave as it sweetened the dish and left a pleasant aftertaste. For Mr LB, the chocolate was the first thing he had noticed – claiming a lovely rich taste immediately. He felt the bread base crumbled deliciously and was complimented well by the salty caramel flavours. We both agreed that it was too rich to eat on our own – it was made for sharing.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Snow Pony. While it was not unique against its brother and sister cafes, it kept the family proud and offered perfect replicas of dishes found at Porgie + Mr Jones with the first class quality that Friends of Mine delivers. This is most certainly the gem of the eastern suburbs, bringing a great experience for those out in the ‘burbs.”
Final thought: “A quality cafe in the Eastern suburbs, delivering your favourite fresh dishes.”