Magic Espresso | Hams & Bacon by Pope Joan
286 Ferrars St
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
0414 991 556
This cafe can be considered Fakegf and The Angmoh’s local. It’s near their homes with decent fare, friendly service and away from the mad bustle of South Melbourne Market’s hyped-up brunch scene. For those of us who live in the area, it’s a perfect alternative. After dance class one Saturday, I popped in here with fellow classmate – Serene.
Magic sits unobstrusively along Ferrars St, and if there weren’t any stools and mini tables lining the pavement, we would not have noticed this place altogether. I agree with Fakegf about the service, they had a genuinely cheerful mojo even before I started fishing out my camera.
But Serene did a huge booboo here… noticing the looks and smiles from the barista/owner as I played with my camera, she let in that I was a ‘prominent blogger who gets invites‘.
No nooo noooo! Never say that to anyone in a restaurant… Aaaaaaaaa!!! And ‘prominent’ my foot! Although I do admit it’s kinda hard to be ‘incognito’ with a dSLR in hand. Still… to announce it aloud makes things even more awkward!! Time to scour the brunch menu for that proverbial serve of ‘humble pie’…
Piccolo 3.5 | Latte 3.5
Coffees came quick, with beans from St Ali (and its associated single origins) churned out of a La Marzocco machine. My piccolo had a balanced, chocolatey punch. Come to think of it… I’ve come a long way from five years ago. Back then, I thought the person who mans the coffee machine is called a “barrister”. :p
Our friendly barista also gave us a tasting sample of their special hot chocolate (not pictured). My eyes popped out a little when I saw her scooping from a massive 5kg jar of Nutella to make it.
MOTHER FRITTER 17
A Favourite In Melbourne Cafe’s. Corn And Zucchini With A Touch Of Chili, A Side Of Smoked Salmon, An egg And Avocado Salsa
Serene and I planned to play tennis that afternoon, but the menu got the better of us and we overate (of course). Here’s Serene’s corn fritters, it looked nicely grilled and juicy sweet..
“OUR FAVOURITE” Meredith’s Goats Feta Smashed With Fresh Avocado And Eggs With A Dash of Lemon Oil (+ Salmon 3)
I went healthier by choosing a smashed avocado number plus a side of smoked salmon. Simple but good, although I wished the poached egg was just a touch gooier, it wasn’t spilly enough for me to orchestrate a yolk-porn shot.
Salted Caramel Donut
Whilst waiting for Serene to finish her fritters (she’s a grazer), the staff cheekily teased me with their glass counter of sweets (by Matt Forbes). I lost the fight and got us a rich and butterscotchy donut. The insides were so flaky-buttery it reminded me of a croissant. That afternoon, we waddled about the tennis court and didn’t play very well at all!
I enjoyed how relaxed and friendly the people behind Magic on Ferrars were, it felt almost like an extension of your home. The coffees and brunch fare was decent, and Serene remarked how happy she was discovering new places with me!
Hams and Bacon by Pope Joan
75-79 Nicholson St
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
03 9388 8858
For our next brunch spot, let’s first fast forward through brunch at Pope Joan – a cafe with a vegetable-focussed menu and good, local produce. See previous visit here.
Not so full English breakfast $19
NZ smoked salmon, potato & nettle croquette, slow cooked egg, winter slaw $19 | Warm donut, cream & jam $6
Needless to say, it was a good meal. Im a fan of chef Matt Wilkinson’s vision. My brunch companion’s big breaky featured Melbourne Pantry bacon, Pacdon Park Cumberland sausage, house baked beans and scrambled Green’s eggs. I of course made a beeline for the more unusual offerings… such as a nettle croquettes. The smoked salmon in my dish was spectacular.
But the reason for this revisit was more for me to explore Pope Joan’s recently opened produce store – Hams & Bacon, literally next door to the cafe (see yellow footsteps on the pavement).
Bright, cheerful and oh so sunny! I assume this little shop serves as an extension of Pope Joan’s focus on sharing, good, seasonal and locally sourced produce. It also happens to be about the only place where you can buy Melbourne Pantry bacon, one of the nicest tasting bacon I’ve ever had. (Thanks, Lauren, for the tip!) My last encounter with it was at Le Petit Prince in Armadale, and that completely sealed the deal.
Living by yourself, there’s only so much you can fill your larder with before things get out of hand and you run out of pantry space. So I started small by buying a bit of my favourite bacon to reminisce with, and (on impulse)… a bottle of smoked maple syrup. I planned to let mum and dad try the bacon for when they visit in the coming weeks.
It looks like I now have more reason to brunch at Pope Joan, this produce store beckons just as beguilingly as the cafe’s menu. I also noticed that Pope Joan’s bastard child (the Bishop of Ostia) is no longer in existence and has more or less been turned into an extension of cafe. However, the cafe is now open for service at night. Salt & sugar cured wallaby, anyone?