2013 has sure turned into a crazy year, I have lost count of the family and friends who have to come to visit. About 3 weeks ago Jack and his girlfriend Cindy from HK emailed me saying ‘We wanna come to Melbourne for a holiday what you think?’. It was a bit of a shock for me as I had no idea they had plans to travel and definitely not to Melbourne! But of course I welcomed them, I love taking and showing people around.
Because C&J were only here for a week and I had work we only really had one whole day free to spend with them and that was the Sunday where I planned a day trip to take them to the Mornington Peninsula :) Will be sharing our itinerary and other adventures with you shortly. But before we made our way down the Peninsula we had to have breakfast. They are probably the easiest people to travel and eat with hahaha because they gave me full control and trusted me! So pressure was on to take them to the best places! Nearly without thinking I knew I wanted to take them to Proud Mary for breakfast.
I’m sure most Melbournians would have visited or at least heard of Proud Mary. It is one of those long established cafes who do their coffee and food well, regardless what day of the week, there will always be long queues. Given that we went on a Sunday morning at 9:30am, we knew there was going to be a good half an hour wait. The lady at the front told us to go get takeaway and come back in half an hour, so I took C&J to another cafe for hot chocolate. We came back to Proud Mary’s with our takeaway and was lead to our table. The waitress then said in a stern voice ‘Let me bin those for you’. It really startled us, because there was no signs that outside food wasn’t allowed and it was only hot chocolate. I told her nicely, ‘We’re nearly done with those, would you like us go finish it outside and come back?’. She simply replied, ‘No that’s fine let me bin them for you our hot chocolate is MUCH better’ and quickly took our half-finished hot chocolates from us. I can understand a cafe wouldn’t like outside drinks brought it and we would’ve happily thrown it away, it was more the tone of her voice and attitude that really put us off.
Definitely not a good start to breakfast, and we all ordered a drink as we always intended to. I ordered a latte in their house blend, they usually have the Ghostrider which is their seasonal house blend, however, had run out so had a different blend. I found it to be quite sour and acidic to taste and needed a good spoonful of panela sugar to balance out the flavours.
Mr Bao being a creature of habit, ordered his Magic which was a single origin from somewhere I’ve forgotten :P Once again though he found it to be very sour and slightly bitter towards the end, he prefers his coffees to be more fruity.
Jack ordered a Cappuccino and commented this was one of the best coffees he has had in a very long time, because the coffee in Hong Kong are often very watery and simply not as robust and brewed as well as ours in Melbourne.
Cindy doesn’t tolerate caffeine very well so ordered the Axl Rose juice which has orange, apple and strawberry. I really like the name and colour of the juice, she said that it was lovely and not too sweet because most places in HK will add sugar to their juices.
Remember how I said C&J are super easy, I basically ordered 4 breakfast dishes for us to share. The first was the Frank n Beans which was cannelli beans cooked in a tomato based sauce, topped with a pork and fennel sausage, poached egg and served with garlic fried sourdough. It was a warm and comforting dish and our favourite was the fried croutons which gave the dish some crunch.
I think the best way to tell whether a cafe is good, is to look at how well they can poach an egg :)
One of their signature breakfast dishes at Proud Mary is the Potato Hash where the potato is grated into shreds then made into a little cake and pan fried to give it that crunchiness on the outside but still soft inside. Since the last time I came they have replaced the thin cut bacon with the thick bacon steak! Which elevated the dish to another level :)
Another must order is the Crispy Pork Belly sandwich, it’s good that Proud Mary servers their menu all day so you don’t need to wait till 11am to get this ~ The sandwich is smeared in smoked paprika relish and aioli then slices of crispy pork belly, it may seem a little heavy for breakfast, but its so delicious. My only suggestion is it could have been a little more seasoned as I found the pork to be a slightly bland.
Different people come to Proud Mary for different reasons, some come for the coffee, some for the potato has but for me it’s for these RICOTTA HOTCAKES! These are still some of the best I have had in Melbourne. That day they were served with roasted stone fruit, yoghurt and blood orange ice-cream and cookies cream. C&J and Mr Bao found the roasted fruit and syrup a little sweet and because we had this last the ice-cream sort of melted. But the texture and flavour of the ricotta hotcakes were still perfect, they had small chunks of ricotta through them, dense but not too still. Let’s just say, if you like pancakes, hot cakes or pikelets you’ve gotta come try these!
The quality of the food definitely made up for the unpleasant waitress. Mr Bao and I have always liked Proud Mary and whenever guests come to visit we always bring them here and food is consistently good. The service and wait for tables is the main deterrence for us not coming back as often as we’d like. But I would still recommend you trying if you haven’t, just bear in mind of the long wait and the inconsistent service.