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Many restaurants, including more-recent ones, have been added and ticked off my to-visit list but poor Mary had been waiting to be picked for almost two years. Brunch is particularly hard to squeeze in these days but thanks to a clear schedule on my birthday that would have allowed me to hide under covers to put off facing the extra year added onto my age and thehouseofem’s persistence to dissuade me from doing so, I finally found myself at Proud Mary.
I would like to thank thehouseofem, pamooola and susper for the lovely company, the meal and what was truly a memorable birthday brunch.
Not surprising given the factory appearance we saw on the outside AND the current trends that have been sweeping through many of Melbourne’s breakfast/brunch venues, the interior featured a large converted warehouse space. There was a great contrast between the abundance of textures: bright white plaster, black plaster, dark blue tiles and exposed bricks. The natural light from the windows and the low hanging light bulbs (to a smaller extent) illuminated the interior and accentuated the contrast between the different surfaces.
Mary-Lou fresh squeezed juice - apple, mint & lime.
Miss Molly - apple, mint, cucumber, melon & strawberries.
You know a restaurant is a keeper when EVEN their drink menu gets you inny minny my-ny mo-ing… We each ended up ordering a different drink and in doing so, was able to sample a greater variety of drinks.
By appearance and taste, the Mary-Lou was by far the most refreshing and tastiest of the three drinks above. The minty flavour seemed to overpower the background flavours provided by the sour green apple and lime. Miss Molly was one intriguing character… the cucumber and mint was very distinct and consequently, it didn’t taste much like a fruity drink.
After a few minutes of tossing up between the different drinks, I ended up going with the mango granita. And boy, did I make the right call! Bursting with mango flavour, the drink literally tasted like chilled and liquified mango. Mmmmmmm, mango…
Because sharing is caring.
Sharing is also what happens when you can’t decide between which dish to order.
Avocado - on farmhouse toast, with charred corn, quinoa tabouleh goats cheese and chilli oil.
Eating only a quarter of the dish, I found the dish to be quite light yet flavoursome. The avocado presence was quite generous, but the textures and flavours from the accompanying herbs, red onion and quinoa ensured that the avocado did not taste like mouthfuls of butter. The chilli oil provided the slightest but just the right amount of kick for an early-in-the-day dish.
House smoked salmon - with fennel puree, shaved fennel salad & poached egg.
Given the number of pleasant encounters with fish, I believe my like for fish is here to stay. The salmon was a winner: very tender, partially cooked and did not taste pungently fishy. Another surprising but pleasant aspect came in the form of the fennel puree and salad when my taste buds realised that they both did not possess the usual anise/liquorice taste. Together with the sourdough grainy bread and creamy oozy egg yolk, the ingredients in this dish spruced up the salmon perfectly.
Crisp pork belly sandwich - with smoked paprika relish & aioli.
Talk of this sandwich’s epic’ness had reached our ears and getting our hands on the pork belly was simply a must. I thank my lucky stars that they had not run out of it on the day we had visited. PHEW!
It was from the very first bite that I knew this sandwich belonged in the sandwich hall of fame. If there is such a thing… If not, it should be made just for this sandwich! The braised pork belly was super soft+tender, the smoked paprika relish tasted like a sweet sort of chilli sauce with a light kick, and the aioli was very creamy+smooth. The sandwich seemed to be panfried and the resulting crispiness of the toast provided a delightful crackling-like crunch to each bite. The ingredient list sounds simple enough but the perfectly suited combination guarantees explosive bursts of deliciousness!
Fresh fruit salad - with organic yoghurt & creamed honey.
For those of you who fancy a lighter breakfast (or in susper’s case, had already eaten some breakfast), the fruit salad is one of their lighter, healthier and fresh options.
And so the moral of this story is that if you need something to take away the brunt of ageing another year, Proud Mary will do the trick! With such amazing dishes that ALL delivered consistently on tastiness and quality, Proud Mary not only served as a a great distraction but also won over this blogger in the brunch department.
On one last note: after FINALLY crossing off Proud Mary on my to-visit list, it was added back on almost immediately… the food was really THAT good, calling for a return visit STAT!
172 Oxford St,
Collingwood, Victoria, 3066.
(03) 9417 5930