You know how sometimes there are people you meet and they are so lovely that you wish you didn’t like them? Like, they’re beautiful, funny, friendly, intelligent, thoughtful, generous and kind…and you want to hate them because they’re everything you want to be, but you can’t because they’re so God damn lovely? Well welcome to Proud Mary – the prettiest, sweetest, most thoughtful and intelligent cafe you will probably ever come across in Melbourne.
I’m a big fan of Tina Turner. It was only recently that I insisted I perform Proud Mary in front of my family (for the record, it was Christmas and I’d been taste testing a flagon of port). So it seemed perfectly timed that one of our delightful Twitter followers suggested we take a look at this place – currently one of Melbourne’s coolest breakfast spots.
I had heard of stupid lines and wait times for this cafe and, quite frankly, as much as I love writing about food I’m not willing to stand outside a cafe on a Saturday morning in the hopes that I’m cool enough to eventually be let in. To be totally honest I was kind of expecting this place to go the way so many ‘hot’ Melbourne food spots go and be a bit of a wank, who’s food was bland and coffee pretentious. I mean, it could totally afford to be whatever it wanted with a one hour wait time attached to it.
I’m not going to lie – I rocked up at around 10am with my hippest Collingwood-style outfit on and was greeted with a queue 13 people deep. I scoffed and said to my partner, ‘I’m not lining up for eggs! We’ll go somewhere else’. But I had agreed to review the cafe, so we settled in for an undignified wait on the footpath. Luckily I had bought a Rubix cube to keep myself entertained. My partner was forced to check out all the hot chicks who were hanging around. Poor guy.
We were seated by Betty Boop and took our place at one of the many share tables. I tried to make casual yet witty conversation with the hip chick sitting next to me, which I’m pretty sure she took offence at, noted how the coffee machines resembled a first-class meth lab (note: don’t ask for a ‘hit’ of coffee, just in case), ordered my usual and waited.
I think what I loved most about this was its simplicity. It was bacon and eggs on toast. That’s it. No random twig laid across the top, no hidden star anise – it was just bacon and eggs. And a lot of it.
Honest to God, I don’t see any reason to go on living if I can’t eat these eggs at least once a week. I took my first bite and laughed out loud because I truly didn’t think it were possible for a place to be ultra hip, friendly, fast and good.
It had fat on it…actual fat. Not a lot, just enough to give the bacon that beautiful juicy taste. I almost cried from happiness– animal fat at a groovy Collingwood cafe? There must be some mistake!
It didn’t come with butter. However, this toast was so hip and groovy in its simplicity that I actually ate a whole piece on its own without butter. No butter on toast is ok? Crazy talk! But at Proud Mary’s it totally is.
I’m still in shock at the reasonable prices that Proud Mary boasts. $8.50 for eggs on toast. $4 for a side of bacon.
As a final word, I’d like to say Proud Mary was hands down the sweetest, most polite, most relaxed service I have ever had. It wasn’t just the food that was incredible, it was the style of service that made me take a good hard look at myself and the sour expression I carry around. Proud Mary makes me want to be a better person, and it’s 100% worth the wait to get in.