Coming back home after being overseas for so long really overwhelmed me. I felt a sense of pride for this land and maybe for the first time (properly) realised that there’s a combination of delicious foods here that makes Melbourne, and Australia, so different to the rest of the world. There’s something about Melbourne that attracts me, and many others alike. It’s the young, chic vibe, the coffee culture, the lush vegetation and the abundance of ‘nice’ people around that makes this place one of the most liveable cities on earth. I felt lucky to be part of it all.
Okay. There’s my attempt at being philosophical. But truthfully, I just really missed the rich coffees and beautiful poached eggs that I adore so much. I had some of the worst coffee I’ve had in my life on this trip and I’m just so glad to be back! Before I left, I went to many coffee/brunch joints in and around the city, one of them being Proud Mary.
Proud Mary’s high on the breakfast and coffee scene in Melbourne and I agree with the rest that coffee was one of the better ones available.
The interior is typical of its kind – warehouse turned, red bricked with a touch of rustic with the machinery as decoration by the doorway. Like many other popular coffee places, we had to queue for a table. The wait wasn’t too long before we sat down and ordered though.
I fell in love with their baby blue shaker and the cute milk bottles that held ‘panela’ – ‘unbleached, unrefined, whole cane sugar’. Although I’m never too sure about sugar containers with no lid as moisture in the air tend to cause sugar clumping, the panela was no exception.
My cappuccino ($3.50) also came in a bright blue cup and saucer, making the beverage glow with vibrance and all the more inviting. As a popular coffee roaster, Proud Mary has done its coffee beans justice by enhancing their rich aromas and subtle bitterness. Although not my all time favourite coffee (that title was taken by Dukes Coffee not long ago), but it’s definitely high on the list.
My partners in crime did not fare as well with their juices and drinks. They should have ordered coffees like I told them to! Yuye just couldn’t pass up what sounded like a marvellous blend of flavours – the iced green tea ($5.50) with Japanese morning dew tea, cucumber, mint and strawberry. To say it was bland would have been an understatement. At least it looked pretty I suppose but definitely wasn’t worth the money.
The Tina (kiwi, apple, pineapple, strawberry) and Miss Molly (apple, watermelon, fresh mint, strawberry, cucumber) juices cost $7 each and although I don’t know how they tasted or in fact which one was which in the following photos, they certainly didn’t LOOK too appetising. I don’t want to say what I thought they looked like, you get the drift.
The passionfruit granita ($6) was a bit artificial both in taste and appearance. With that said, it was as expected as it was a granita and not a juice after all. And if you were wondering, the spillage from the glass came like that.
The iced white chocolate ($5.50) was a large drink, but it essentially just tasted like sweetened milk. But then again, I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, I’d rather prefer my dark if there was any.
The meals were a bit better, although some flaws were still noted. I ordered the cured kingfish ($15) with migas, herb salad, chilli oil and lemon. I enjoyed the dynamics of this dish as the textures and subtle tastes blended well together. I especially liked the migas (bread crumbs) which gave the dish some crunch. Although I did agree with Yuye that the kingfish could have been cured for a bit longer as it lacked depth and flavour. A similar effect could have been achieved just by sprinkling salt and pepper on the fish, but this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.
This dish wouldn’t have been substantial enough if it didn’t come with the toasted bread. It was a bit on the dry side for me but wasn’t a bad combination with the kingfish.
Yuye’s ‘crisp’ pork belly sandwich ($15) wasn’t so crisp after all. The pork skin was a bit chewy and not at all like true crackling. At least I hope the ‘crisp’ referred to the pork and not the bread. The bread itself was too buttery on the surface to hold with bare hands which Yuye wasn’t too fond of. Other than that, I thought the sandwich was tasty, although a little on the sweet side.
Sat’s lamb sandwich had a similar problem with the buttery bread but he did think the sandwich was packed with flavour.
Arch was the only one who ordered anything with egg which I was very surprised about. Why didn’t I order eggs I hear you ask? I have no clue. The potato hash ($16.50) came with a whole stack of bacon on top, a bit too much if you ask me but might be good value to some.
The asparagus was apparently overcooked and the hash was soggy but the poached egg was perfectly runny.
Overall the coffee was the highlight for me as well as the young, energetic atmosphere and the occasional blue crockery. The small flaws in food quality could be improved to provide a better dining experience, but stay away from the iced tea.
With so many cafes around Melbourne serving up a breakfast/lunch storm, I’m not sure if I’d go back to Proud Mary. However, if I was in the neighbourhood, I would definitely consider dropping by for a coffee.
Phone: (03) 9417 5930
Address: 172 Oxford Street, Collingwood VIC 3066