Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8:30am – 4pm
Coffee: Black Star Coffee, Larsen and Thompson Teas, Prana Chai brewed
“If you were like me as a child, all you wanted to do is quickly grow up and do adult activities. The concept was a utopia as you didn’t have to answer to anyone and the right to tailor your own life.
There is only one (major) caveat to this utopia. A caveat that in most cases was ill-advised, forgotten or buried under a pile of stuff labeled ‘things to do’. The caveat simply reads ‘life is tough and not necessarily easy’. Whilst this statement is true, life is more or less defined by moments and includes a healthy amount of brunch sittings!
Providence is the latest cafe to open in Carlton and aims to create strong and life-long moments within the community. The cafe lends itself to allow patrons of young and old to share the experience of brunch; situated on the ground floor of a modern apartment block that caters for the over fifty-fives.
The decor has a minimalist touch as it cleverly uses different shades of grey; allowing for the natural light from the angled floor to wall windows to gracefully shine through. Whilst being minimalist, the space is warm with hanging prints of vegetables and the odd splash of colour. The barista station and kitchen is nicely tuck away, allowing enough space to not affect the acoustics of the dining area but not too far away that it’s forgotten.
At the helm of the kitchen is Head Chef Cate Hardman, who draws her love of food from growing up on a farm. With her ‘gate to plate’ approach, she has crafted the menu to focus on quality over quantity. The team carefully selects their produce and builds strong relationships with farmers and producers. With the kitchen using Cockatoo Grove Olive Oil, small goods from Gamze Smokehouse and fresh produce sourced from the Carlton Farmers Market, each dish has an individual story.
The all day brunch menu will change with the seasons, but it’s the lunch menu that will be the most diverse. With no set lunch menu, Cate and her team uses the freshest and in-season produce to create a variety of dishes.
Brunch Addict was invited as a guest of Providence to sample and taste the current brunch offerings.
Breakfast Smoothie – Almond milk, blueberries, banana, oats, dates [$6.5]
The Breakfast Smoothie had a creamy and refreshing taste that’s perfect for people who are time-poor. The oats and blueberries are bold in flavour; however this is controlled by the creaminess of the almond milk. I would imagine the full size portion to be extremely filling, fresh and give an energy boost to start the day.
Smoked Trout – Bubble and Squeak potatoes, hot smoked trout & herbs in crunchy but creamy patties, topped with poached eggs [$20]
These bite size portions demonstrate a strong comparison to the full size dish. The hot smoked trout was divine, leaving a delightfully smoky taste on the palate. The trout was strongly complemented with the potato patties, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and fresh herb paste that make up this hearty dish. Hot tip: make sure you separately try the fresh herb paste – it’s in a league of its own.
Egg and Bacon Pie – Our twist on the old favourite, with Cate’s tomato chutney and lovely leaves [$18] & Breakfast Salad – Grilled avocado, sticky ham hock, lovely leaves, peas & goats curd with toasted flat bread [$17]
The Egg and Bacon Pie was a traditional brunch dish that allowed the ingredients to speak for themselves. As expected, the boiled egg had a lovely soft and fluffy taste. But it was the homemade pastry that was the star attraction, being super crispy and holding its form when cutting into the pie.The breakfast salad was my favourite dish of the day. The composition and styling of the dish is possibly the definitive definition of a spring brunch. The real stand-out was the grilled avocado; the outer skin provided a pungent burnt taste that balanced well with the overall creaminess of the warm avocado. The ham hock was exceptionally smooth and left a vibrant, sweet taste that was well-complemented with the lovely leaves, fresh peas and goat curd – fresh, vibrant and oh-so very spring.
Pumpkin and Lentil Fritters – Aromatic spiced fritters with Cate’s chilli tomato pickle, coconut yoghurt and lovely leaves [$17]
A novel approach to fritters, the pumkin and lentils fritters serves as a good vegetarian option. The fritters tasted more like falafel, but the chilli tomato pickle makes up for the lack of flavour.
Breakfast Berry Clafoutis – Kind of like a baked pancake! Spring berries, toasted almonds & rhubarb ice cream [$17]
For the sweet tooth, this brunch dish doesn’t get any more exciting or intriguing. The rhubarb ice cream has been specifically designed by Cate and developed by the family team of Jason and Iris of Gundowring Ice Cream. The rhubarb ice cream is 100% rhubarb and balances well with the clafoutis base. The beauty of this dish is that while it looks extremely sweet, it’s surprisingly balanced and delightful.
Providence’s strong approach of gate to plate is reflected with all the sample dishes shown. The freshness and quality of the produce is evident. There are cafes in Melbourne that talk the talk and then there are the ones that walk the walk. Providence is certainly in the latter category.
Final word: “Only using locally sourced produce to provide stunning brunch dishes in the heart of Carlton”