Proud Mary

172 Oxford Street, Collingwood VIC 3066
Date visited: 6th December 2012

Visiting Proud Mary today reminds me of how much I love and yet, have not done breakfast/ brunch in such a long time.  It also reminds me that this blog was initially a breakfast blog which has now evolved into who knows what... another superfluous food blog that Melbourne doesn't need.  Oh well.

Proud Mary was announced as Melbourne's best cafe by The Age Good Cafe Guide 2012.  Known for its coffee and all day breakfast including a smaller selection of lunch offerings, Proud Mary has been on my wishlist for some time now.

The cafe itself was quite easy to find on Oxford Street.  It was already bustling with activity when we arrived - we were greeted at the door by a friendly waiter and shown to two seats at the counter facing outside.  Yay for sunlight photo-wise, but boo for backlighting!  @_@

Menu on wall
Our view
We were given our menus and had our bottle of water and glasses within seconds of sitting down.  Our drink orders were taken in minutes and our food orders taken in good time.  So far so good.
Bench decor
I had their cappuccino.  It came in a brilliant blue cup and matching saucer, topped off with amazing foam and gorgeous coffee art.  The cappuccino was rich, creamy and velvety smooth.  
MerlinFan had an Iced Coffee.  She said it was pretty standard.
We both wanted to try their infamous Ricotta Hotcakes.  MerlinFan, ever the evil sweet tooth, tried to pull her usual MerlinFan fast one on me this morning.  Usually, our brunch trips go a bit like this.  Example:
MerlinFan:  What's good there?
Me: Ricotta Hotcakes.
MerlinFan: What are you having?
Me: Ricotta Hotcakes.  What are you having?
MerlinFan:  Ricotta Hotcakes.  We can either share or both order ricotta hotcakes because I don't want anything else (she's pulled this a number of times now on a sweet brekkie, knowing that I usually back down and order something else for the sake of having two dishes to review for my blog)

Today I absolutely refused to budge and in the end, MerlinFan decided to choose a savoury to share.  We'd heard the Crisp Pork Belly Sandwich was good, but we'd been having roast pork the last two nights, so MerlinFan chose the Slow-cooked Lamb Sandwich instead.  It was a good thing she caved, for the evil sweet tooth thought the sandwich was great.  The tangy beetroot relish and the herb yoghurt was a winning combination with the tender, flavoursome lamb.  The bread was beautifully toasted till golden brown and gave that coveted, most satisfying crunch upon biting into it.  MerlinFan said the dish would be made perfection if it had chips on the side. >:D  
Slow cooked Lamb Sandwich $15
Now for the Ricotta Hotcakes.  I believe the fruits and toppings change seasonally, and today, it came with caramelised mandarin, dark chocolate fudge, whipped mascarpone and hazelnuts.
Ricotta Hotcakes $16.50
It was beautifully presented and no, I did not Photoshop enhance the colour - it was that vibrant.  The stack of three hotcakes were soft and fluffy, nicely crisp around the edges, with an uncanny ability to remain piping hot even after MerlinFan and I finished our sandwich.  We love oranges as much as the next person, but MerlinFan and I both agreed that the orange component seemed to overpower everything else.  There was a sparing sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts for texture, and the dollop of dark chocolate fudge made a valiant attempt at contrasting the flavours, but it was a war it couldn't win over the generous mound of caramelised mandarins, orange whipped mascarpone and the pool of orange syrup.  All the components were lovely on their own, but at the end of the day, orange did overwhelm our tastebuds and make us crave a little variety to break things up.
Sunlight reflected in the pool of syrup
Proud Mary has definitely earned its reputation as one of the most popular haunts in Melbourne's cafe scene.  I would say our visit has totally reawakened my love for brunch and a good coffee.  Service was friendly, welcoming and efficient for a busy weekday.   MerlinFan would come back just to have the Lamb Sandwich - yup, it was that good.  As for me, their specialty coffee blends sound fascinating and the Pork Sandwich tempting.  I'd also stalk their website for seasonal changes in the Ricotta Hotcakes and their different indulgent toppings - it may warrant another visit in the very near future.

Proud Mary on Urbanspoon

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  1. I thought our food tasting trips usually went like

    YellowEggs: We are going to ABC and IIIII am having the XXX. (Ie reserved because we all know how feral you get when it comes to food)

    And no MerlinFan did not get lamb because you were all "hotcakes mine". She ordered lamb because she was in the mood for something savoury.

    And yes MerlinFan does realise she is talking about herself in the third person like the Rock.

  2. i'm glad you finally had a chance to visit. my review is on my blog