Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun 8am – 4pm
Public holidays: 7am-4pm
Coffee: Proud Mary House blend, Single Origin, Flitter coffee
Other: Large assortment of Tea
See our previous review of Proud Mary here.
“Suc.cess [suhk-ses]: The achievement of something desired, planned or attempted.
It seems you can read about it, watch it develop and even envy it. Success. It’s the modern day equivalent to seeking the holy grail. It’s that moment in time where you can say with conviction that you have reached or surpassed the set benchmark. While the taste of success is very gratifying it’s not something that just falls onto a persons lap. To be truly successful and relevant within the Melbourne brunch scene doesn’t just require hard work and good luck. Rather, it requires a clear strategy and a good vision. Having been to a number of Melbourne cafes throughout my younger years, there are only a few cafes which I would say are truly successful and Proud Mary is one of those cafes. Operating for more than a year now, this cafe is still very relevant in the Melbourne food scene and still sparks a lot conversation. Their brand has extended, sourcing various coffee blends (including my working day favorite) while still pulling strong numbers during weekend trading.
We had arrived mid-Saturday and as expected good looking people were hanging around in a pleasant manner, waiting in anticipation for their table. There seems to be a lot more control in crowd movement in contrast with our last formal visit. As we were discussing the big issues of Saturday (the weekday goss), a staff member had brought around bite size brownies to waiting guest. It was this attention to finer detail that made the whole waiting process more enjoyable.
After being seated it was time to break the coffee seal and I went straight for the good stuff; the Single Origin Niagara Blend [$3.50] in a long black. By now most of Melbourne (including the person who runs the very popular Melbourne Memes blog) would agree Proud Mary coffee is fabulous. With that in mind, my long black was of exceptional quality. The flavours of this brew were delightfully fruity. There were hints of strawberry, however, while the tasting board mentioned pineapple I wasn’t able to identify it. As expected the long black had a great crisp taste that can be enjoyed with every sip. If only every coffee was like this.
I recently learned a friend of mine would only go to a few cafes for brunch each weekend and order the exact same dish each and every time. Her premise is ‘why should she order something different and not meeting her expectation’? While I don’t totally agree, I do tend to fall into the trap that if we revisit a cafe I order what Miss SL had previously or the same ordered. I was craving something filling with lots of flavours and I couldn’t go pass one of Proud Mary favourite brunch dishes – Potato hash – grilled bacon, spinach, a poached egg, bagna cauda [$16.5].
As anticipated, the potato hash was cooked to perfection with a delightful soft mash in the middle and a deliciously crunchy fried surface. The bacon and spinach were perfect complements to the potato hash as it nicely balanced the meal. As expected the poached egg was cooked to perfection with the yolk adding to the flavor of the potato. The bagna cauda gave this dish the elevated status of a proud favorite. The sauce brings a lovely creamy anchovies flavour that not only tastes amazing on its own, but ties the entire dish together. The potato hash is a dish that will not only will satisfy your brunch craving but also delivers flavours that will certainly bring a smile to your dial.
Proud Mary is a successful Melbourne cafe that still has the goods. So if you haven’t tried Proud Mary, it’s about time you got out of your comfort zone and head down to try it out.”
“While I was away in Perth I seemed to have missed a couple of pinnacle family events – my mother’s 60th birthday party, for one, as well as my older brothers’ birthday. Two days before I due to return from Perth back to our fair city, my mother had texted me – “When are you buying the cake for your brother?”.
Now, being the child assumed too lazy to be kept in charge of anything, this message caught me by surprise. Cake? I was to organise a cake? In Melbourne? In time for Saturday when I arrive at midnight the night before? How was this to be achieved? Thanks goodness for Mr LB coming to my rescue, offering to order me a cake from Le Petit Gateau in time for the event. Phew! Problem solved!
The predecessor to cake, of course, is some kind of meal. My brother had decided that he wanted to try Proud Mary’s – a place I had been wanting to revisit since our first trip was tainted by the long wait for a table, poor service and long wait for food.
With over a year under their belt as a fully-fledged cafe, we arrived at its doors as hipsters meandered on the sidewalk waiting for a table. The maître de took our names down as we chatted animatedly outside. Within 30 minutes we were seated on a communal table, served water and had our coffee orders taken down. A significantly better effort than our first visit. After some quick soul-searching, I decided sugar was the name of game, opting for the Ricotta Hotcakes – Caramelised mandarin, dark chocolate orange fudge, whipped mascarpone and hazelnuts [$16.50].
First out was my Single Origin Niagara Blend double espresso. I could taste strawberries but the pineapple as per the tasting notes were lost to my unrefined palate, delivering a subtle flavour that followed up with a hit of brightness. My brother ordered a cappuccino in the Proud Mary house blend. He really seemed to enjoy the quality compared to the local cafe near his work!
When my ricotta hotcakes came out I couldn’t help but give a smarmy look to those in my company. Yes, this deliciousness would be all mine. I loved that there was a lovely block of heart-melting dark chocolate orange fudge melting atop my meal – there was something so.. seductive about it.
The hotcakes themselves were made perfectly – crispy on the outside and so light and fluffy on the inside. The mandarin flavours were omnipresent in this meal – gentle in its presence in the hotcakes, medium balance in the syrup glazing the plate and a strong presence in the chocolate fudge. The hazelnuts added a lovely crunch and really lifted the dish beautifully. While we all talked about how lovely the food was at Proud Mary’s, I couldn’t help but kick myself that I’d waited this long to come back.”
Final thought: “Beautiful ricotta hotcakes – a must try on their menu”
After lunch we went back to my family home and cut the cake from Le Petit Gateau. We’d ordered a large Strawberry and Berry Tart – Frangipani base tart, with berry jam, fresh strawberry, raspberry and blackberry [small $35, large $45]. It was beautiful! The berries were nice and fresh underneath the glaze and the frangipani had this beautiful almond flavour throughout it.