13/322-326 Coventry Street
Wed: 7.30am – 4pm
Fri: 7.30am – 5pm
Sat: 7.30am – 4pm
Sun: 7.30am – 4pm
Note: Breakfast operates until 11:30am. Extended trading hours are anticipated in the near future.
Coffee: Toby’s Estate
“South Melbourne Market has undergone a quiet but significant change over the past year. There is a revived energy in the air, as new and established businesses work together to transform the market into a unique public space. With others aiming for tourist status and/or gourmet produce, South Melbourne Market thrives on its diverse segments. Still offering seasonal fresh produce from passionate fruiterers, butchers and fishmongers; it also caters for a new breed of emerging retailers, coffee traders, household living and personal services.
Proper & Son is one thriving example of the force behind the transformation; recently opening a modern cafe in the food court. A once hidden (and one might say forgotten) location, the food court wasn’t known for its quality and ambiance. While taking a gamble on this location and away from the foot traffic of Cecil Street, Proper & Son is a beacon of excitement for café goers seeking a quality brunch & lunch options at South Melbourne Market.
The fit-out accentuates the morning sunlight that beams into the clean and relatively minimalist space. The kitchen area mimics a glasshouse with a typical house truss (or in generic terms: frame) built around the kitchen and barista space; creating a clear separation of the kitchen and dining area. The deep black steel frame seamlessly integrates with the industrial low hanging lighting fixtures, whereas the decorative wallpaper adds warmth into what is an inviting space.
Coffee is sourced from Toby’s Estate and had a fruity time that dominated my long black [$3.50], ending with a crisp finish. My only minor comment would be that it was served a little too hot, but once allowed to settle the addictive crispy flavours started to appear.
Being uniquely placed in a bustling market like South Melbourne, owner and head chef Eugene Lavery saw an opportunity to create an authentic eatery with a strong focus on seasonal produce. All ingredients used in the kitchen is handpicked and sourced from the market. This approach not only allows Proper & Son access to some of the best and freshest produce, but equally gives back to the market.
To experience their diverse brunch menu, you will need to arrive before 11:30am as the menu transitions into lunch; offering a range of salads, rolls and roast dishes.
Electing the breakfast special on offer, Pumpkin & cous cous fritters, tahini & egg [$14.50], it not only looked impressive but tasted great. Served in a cast-iron skillet created a ‘hunter & gatherer’ feeling, as my fritters were smooth, filling and had hints of sweetness from the mashed pumpkin. The poached egg was prepared to perfection as was the tasty tahini sauce and roasted nut combination, adding a lovely Middle Eastern flair to the dish.
The menu offers gluten free options which made Jo Jo excited, electing the ‘The Marketeer’ smokey bacon, soft egg & onion roll [$11.50] with gluten free bread. The dish was said to be quite filling, wholesome and delicious. A stand out was the gluten free bread used, which tasted like a true bread substitute rather than the typical cake-like texture many breads have.
Proper and Son is a great example of generating and executing an original idea that’s innovative and refreshing to Melbourne’s cafe scene. It has identified a missing element to the ‘market’ experience that fits perfectly within the South Melbourne Market transformation. The impressive cafe and attractive decor speaks volumes for not only locals but newly visitors.”
Final thought: “A true experience in tasting what the market and Melbourne cafes have to offer”