The title says it all: we got up to our usual brunch mischief one fine Saturday morning, and finished it off with a sweet treat, hitting up 2 spots at once!
So let’s get into the details shall we?
At our last brunch, we were discussing our favourite brunch spots and ‘Proud Mary‘ came up. I’ve not been to Proud Mary before and I’ve heard about it being 1 of Melbourne’s top cafes. So naturally, I was keen to try!
We got there near to lunch time and the place was still buzzing. So yup, we had to wait for a table.
But the wait was only about 15minutes so that wasn’t too bad.
Ms JQ had good memories of the Potato Hash on her previous visit so we went for that. I also found the Ox Tongue dish pretty interesting so that settled our orders!
I have read quite a few good reviews about their in-house coffees so I was really excited to try out their coffees, especially after having Di Bella’s superb in-house blends.
They also look pretty serious about their coffee-making!
The café was really busy when we got in, and I must say the staff was quite patient with us walking around the café going trigger-happy. With them bustling around waiting on tables, we were quite in danger of tripping them up – oh the work to keep up this blog!
Anyway, our coffees finally arrived. We gleefully took our first sips, with expectations running high.
For some reason, the coffees did not meet our expectations, unfortunately. While it was a pleasant cup to drink, we found the blend too mild. This was quite in contrast to our experience at Di Bella, where we could distinctly taste the blend and it came out strong and full-bodied.
It was a tad disappointing indeed, as I’ve heard so much about Proud Mary’s coffees!
As for our dishes, we didn’t have to wait too long, which is quite commendable, given the crowd that day.
How pretty is the presentation?? However, upon closer look…
…can you see that the poached egg is slightly overcooked? Uh-oh!
It was another disappointment for us as after all, a good poached egg makes up the bulk of any brunch dish!
Aside from the lack of yolkiness though, the Ox Tongues dish was quite all right. The tongues were thinly sliced and they didn’t came out too chewy so it was a nice texture. It also went very well with the sour dough bread, egg, fried shallots and red peppers.
Okay, what about our 2nd dish?
Again, the fault of the dish lies in the overcooked egg (I forgot to take a shot of it). But apart from that, this was one really good Potato Hash! The hash had that nice crunchiness on the outside and stringiness of the potato strips on the inside. We found that the potatoes were more finely sliced than the ones we had Di Bella (oops couldn’t help making another comparison!).
The crispy kale was a delight to crunch on and the SAUCE – we couldn’t get enough of it! It was a shame about the egg – if not, this would have been one mighty fine dish!
Overall, Proud Mary looks like one well-oiled machine – it certainly knows its popularity and handles the brunch crowd well. However, the quality of the food and coffee didn’t seem up to scratch that day, as expected of a top Melbourne café.
I would still recommend this café for anyone looking for a good brunch in the Collingwood area, but due to my experience that day, it would be short of being 1 of my Top Picks. Perhaps I’ll have to give it another go next time!
Anyway, with the savoury tummies filled, it was on to feed the sweet tooth at Chez Dré!
(Just a note, the entrance to the café is actually through the alleyway – on the right side of the picture – or the backyard.)
I visited Chez Dré a long time ago for brunch and I remembered I wasn’t too impressed by it – I found it overpriced and the dishes weren’t very creative. But I remembered I was very impressed by the array of sweets on display.
At that time, I felt a little tight after having paid for my brunch meal and I told myself I’ll try to come back another day just for the pastries/cakes…
…And yes, I finally made it!
Yes, it still looked as charmingly delicious as I remembered 😉
As you can probably guess, Ms JQ and I had a hard time selecting a sweet. We decided to share one as we were quite full from brunch and because well, it isn’t cheap! So that didn’t make it any easier narrowing down to one!
But we finally made our choice…
The level of detail given to the dessert is impeccable and I guess that’s what you’re paying for. As you can see, there are many layers and combinations of pistachio and strawberry in this cake.
Beneath the pistachio jelly, we could taste a pistachio mousse, another layer of strawberry mousse, a berry jam, and a pistachio cake at the bottom. What a wonderful play of flavours and textures on the tastebuds!
Although the portion looked small, Ms JQ and I were quite satisfied sharing this between us. Given the bar that this Pistachio & Strawberry cake has already set, I’m quite sure the other pastries and cakes at Chez Dré would be of pretty high quality.
This little cake certainly brought back memories of the desserts I had in France so I would highly recommend this place for anyone looking for a French sweet treat!
So there you have it – our Saturday adventure of an Aussie brunch and a little French sweet. We’ve got another weekend foodie venture up our sleeves so watch this space!