– by Tiarne Cook
With one foot in the door of Melbourne’s coffee institution – Proud Mary – you can almost feel the caffeine in the air, the floor staff buzz between tables, the inviting chatter of friends reunited bubbles up and a small crowd of people congregate by the door, patiently awaiting their name to be called for their morning takeaway fix.
The relatively large space fills up with ease, especially on this particularly warm Melbourne morning. Keen customers sit perched on stools at the window benches and shoulder-to-shoulder at the large community table – everyone just feels grateful to get a seat!
The menu spans the right-hand-side wall, scrawled in chalk and packed full of genius breakfast and lunch options. The drinks list is also rather impressive, with a large variety of specialty coffee made using different brewing techniques, teas, iced drinks, granitas, fresh juices, smoothies and milkshakes. I order a long black and the knowledgeable wait staff respond by asking whether it is the Guatemala or Panama single origin I am after. The steaming long black arrives at the table moments later, freshly pulled from their custom-made Frankenstein-like Synesso (pretty much two coffee machines melded together).
The breakfast menu has me stumped – everything sounds like a winning choice. I was intrigued by the ox tongue served with peppers, almonds, onion and a poached egg ($16.50), but I settle on the ricotta hotcakes with stewed rhubarb, pistachio ice cream and fennel pollen meringue ($17.5). While it seems like more of a dessert than a breakfast, it does not disappoint. Thick, fluffy hotcakes perfectly balanced with the tartness of the rhubarb, the crunch of the meringue and the coolness of the ice cream.
I contemplate another coffee – a cold drip perhaps – but the first has me buzzing and ready to explore the streets of Melbourne at lightening speed. Instead I opt for a 250gm bag of their Angel Wings blend, available from their merch stand and also online, freshly roasted and ready to enjoy at home.
For a quality cup and a mean brekkie, without equal, Proud Mary has you covered.
ADDRESS: 172 Oxford St, Collingwood, Victoria
PHONE: (03) 9417 5930
HOURS: Mon to Fri, 7am – 4pm and Sat & Sun, 8am – 4pm