I’m going to be honest, I don’t often get out to Collingwood. So when my friend suggested we catch up at Proud Mary, I was secretly begrudging the hike. But Proud Mary is one of Melbourne’s known and loved spots for Breakfast/Coffee/Lunch dates, and with good reason.
Set just off Smith Street, there is no chance you will miss this bustling cafe. Even at lunch time on a week day, there were hoards of eager customers filling up every seat inside, raising the noise level to a point where I was starting to shout at the waitress. We ended up choosing to sit outside, where we could hear each other and enjoy the sunshine.
The menu can be found online, however there were a few minor alterations. There are sandwiches that change daily. Your standard seedy bread squares, filled with delicious sandwich regulars such as smoked salmon, ham, chicken and a vegetarian option. Please note that these do sell out pretty fast! Breakfast is all day (something I definitely like to hear!). There is also a VERY comprehensive drinks menu with a variety of different teas, cold drinks, cold coffees as well as your regulars.
The staff were friendly (very northern suburbs trendy) and helpful in regards to the menu. Though they were very busy and often speeding between tables to take orders. The space is communal, and quite busy, perhaps not where you would go for an intimate lunch or with a larger group.
I chose the Lamb Sandwich ($14.5) with beetroot relish and a yoghurt dressing on sourdough. It was delicious! I don’t often enjoy little square toasted sandwiches but this was one of those dishes that makes you happy for the rest of the day. The bread was buttered to give it that crisp edge, the lamb was shredded and a little oily and salty, the beetroot relish tasted like simply shredded beetroot and worked well with the tzatziki like yoghurt dressing. All in all, each element of the dish seemed very ‘handled’, for example the lamb had been made into a square pattie shape, not something that I usually look for in a dish, however the flavour was to die for!
My fellow diner chose the (almost famous) Crushed Avocado ($13.5), which was avocado, cherry tomatoes, feta and pesto on sourdough toast. The ingredients were fresh and much less processed than my dish. Though there was again a considerable amount of oil on the dish. The diner loved the choice they had made, and many other people have commented on how well Proud Mary does the ‘avocado on toast’ brunch dish!
The coffee was nice, though slightly burnt due to the amount of coffees that the poor barista was trying to churn out.
I would love to be able to get that sandwich every day of my life… though I think I would turn into a little oily ball. Proud Mary lives up to its reputation for a delicious fare, however it is very busy!