Proud MaryOctober 19, 2011
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood
Having heard and read about the brilliant coffee on offer at Proud Mary, it was with no degree of hesitation that I met up with misses B, N, and F one sunny afternoon for N’s birthday. Proud Mary sits on a wide street corner in Collingwood, housed in an attractive red brick building which looked particularly welcoming when bathed in the spring sunlight.
Inside, the space is smaller than it appears from the street, but is nonetheless spacious and airy. We crammed into a bench-style table by the kitchen, and I snuck around briefly to take some photos. I liked the laid back vibe of the place, and the exposed brick wall at one end added some interest. Large windows let in plenty of natural light.
Here’s where the coffee magic happens: Proud Mary’s prized coffee machine (with signature baby blue cups).
On the left you can see N’s beautiful 1920s Art Deco ring that her parents bought her for her birthday; I am quite jealous.
First up, my latte. An excellent, excellent coffee. Near faultless, as expected.
The menu, although handed to us in clipboard form, was also scrawled on a giant board above our heads. It boasts a decently sized brekkie/lunch menu, and an equally impressive coffee list. The menu was interesting, and I considered a number of brunch dishes including the smoked pork neck, bean fabada and poached egg on toast.
N cheekily said “My money’s on Nat getting the avocado” (a reference to my habit of ordering dishes involving avocado) – so, more determined than ever to prove her wrong, I flipped the page and looked at the list of sandwiches.
F and B shared the spiced pumpkin and feta tart and a lamb sandwich. N and I followed suit, but replaced the tart with a crisp pork belly sandwich with smoked paprika relish and aioli. N and I each took a bite and moaned; possibly one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, though I dare not think of the amount of butter needed to achieve that beautiful golden crisp on the outside. The pork was also wonderfully crispy but oh-so-soft in the centre, and the paprika relish added a nice tang. Rich and delicious.
The slow cooked lamb sandwich came with beetroot relish and yoghurt, and was also delicious, the meat was super soft and fell apart in your mouth. But I think I preferred the flavours in the pork, they were more zingy.
And now, for an introduction. Readers, please meet The Magic. F, who has worked at a number of coffee-centred cafes, ordered one and we were all intrigued. It’s a double ristretto base 3/4 flat white, so there’s a stronger coffee flavour and less milk. F was nice enough to let us taste, and, honestly, it put our lattes and our cappuccinos to shame. The flavour was totally different between the two cups, the magic had a fantastically tart taste which I loved. If you like strong coffee, but aren’t macho enough (like me) to drink black coffee, this is an excellent option.
Ever since this visit to Proud Mary, I’ve been ordering magics whenever I’m at places that know coffee. Look out for these, they’ll be appearing on the blog more often from now on! And thank you to F for introducing me!
Sandwiches finished, we whittled away the better part of two hours talking about F’s upcoming trip overseas, about birthday presents we like and don’t like getting, and about new cafes that have recently opened (which I’ve added to my ever-growing list). Here’s to good friends and good coffee!
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