Proud Mary

172 Oxford Street
Collingwood, VIC 3066
03 9417 5930

It’s all about the coffees… isn’t it?

There are things to love about Proud Mary. First up, the food’s pretty good and they’re generous with serving size. Secondly, the staff are down-to-earth and the crowd here’s generally unpretentious. And lastly, I just love love love the baby-blue A.C.F. cups they serve their coffees in! I bought a set of 6 different coloured A.C.F. cups recently for a decent sum of money, and guess which one I dropped and smashed? The baby-blue one!! *cry*

But what about the coffees? Prior to my recent brunch visit here, I’d already popped in twice before just for coffees. The barista set-up is quite amazing. 4-5 grinders, a huge big-ass (Synesso?) espresso machine, a clover machine, cold drip set-up, syphon / pour-over, chemex… you name it, they got it!

I had a cold drip on my first coffee visit, a single origin magic on my second coffee visit, and two piccolos over my recent brunch visit. So I’ve definitely had a fair sample size of the coffees here.

My first cold drip coffee experience

The coffees here veer towards the light and citrusy side. It can come across as quite astringent to some of us. I was new to coffee-tasting when I had the cold drip (see picture above) half a year ago, so I struggled with appreciating the strong bitter-sour flavours I got from it. Coffee mentor, Lachlan, suggested that there were sweet floral notes and a dark chocolate aftertaste… I tasted none of that. Similar story with the single origin Costa Rican magic I had on visit two, it tasted oddly sour even with sugar added. But fakegf’s house-blend skinny magic did have nice floral notes.

Let’s now fast forward to last month’s brunch visit. By then, I’d started drinking piccolos. My first piccolo came from Proud Mary’s ‘Angel Wings’ blend of the day – with beans from Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador. Once again, citrus acidic tones in my drink with a hint of flowers, but this time I didn’t mind it as much. My second piccolo was a single origin Rwandan Abakundakawa Rusashi COE #13. This time there was a very nice flowery crema cap, but the drink itself tasted almost lemony…!

To sum it up, the coffees here taste pretty zesty and interesting… challenging even. I think I’m starting to enjoy them, though an initial mind-shift was needed. On a side note, Ora Café  uses Proud Mary beans but their coffees are smooth and sooo very drinkable, maybe it’s a different blend or roast method.

Ricotta Hotcakes $16.5
caramelised mandarin, dark chocolate fudge, candied hazelnuts, whipped mascarpone

Smoked Pork Neck $16.5
bean fabada, a poached egg, sourdough toast, green aioli

Potato Hash $16.5
bacon, buttered spinach, a poached egg and bagna cauda

Now time to talk about the brunch fare. The girls who took me here recently are really fond of the food menu, especially the smoked pork neck, ricotta hotcakes and pork belly sandwich. They practically visit here at least twice a month!

Serving sizes are generous and the brunch fare hearty. My potato hash did not disappoint, it was nice to see the potato all strung out and not clumped together, and there was a punchy anchovy sauce to keep things interesting. While I’d personally prefer lighter dishes and flavours, the food here definitely has its loyal following of hungry stomachs.

But just to let you know, since my visit, they’ve changed the menu for summer! So it might be different now, all light and refreshing perhaps for the hot days to come?

One of the girls ended her meal with a Moka Java Cold Drip, and much to my surprise, this drink was really nice! No floral hints here, and it wasn’t acidic either. On first sip…. think dark woods, dark chocolate and dark berries. This summer, I might possibly consider ordering cold drips when I brunch. Aaaa… a whole new world of coffee tasting to discover!

It was nice being taken to a friend’s favourite local brunch spot. I can see why they love it. Casual, genuinely friendly staff, good food, unpretentious crowd (although it can get crazy crowded). And someone sitting on the same share table recognised me as fatbooo!

But I’d like to also mention that I personally find brunching at Proud Mary a tad uncomfortable. Maybe its the trendy decor, the tight layout, echoey acoustics and oftentimes busy crowd. Doesn’t fit my rhythm and tempo. So while many may enjoy brunching here, I think I prefer slightly quieter spaces…

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