Finally, working in the Melbourne CBD fringe (Fitzroy/Brunswick) area provided me with real perks. But lets be clear, it has nothing to do with work.
Of course, I am talking about food. I am talking about the gamut of cafes, bakeries, delis, and produce stores that litter the area and provide nourishment to the masses. Don't get me wrong, I still love the coffee at Toby's Estate, but they open at 8.30am, and I also love Seven Seeds, but I take out at least one cyclist every time I drive down Royal Parade. But ladies and gentlemen there is a new kid on the block - Pope Joan.
Pope Joan situated on 77-79 Nicholson St, is unbelievably close to work. Close enough to do a lunch dash and be back within the hour - now that to me, is worth raving about. At time of writing, I had visited maybe half a dozen times (I had to be sure...) for morning coffee, breakfast, lunch. You know, the stuff that I need to do to..just to be sure. I sense this place would be buzzing on weekends.
Anyway, although it doesn't seem busy on some weekdays, I believe it will be packed within a few months. I can't imagine it any other way. I mean, only a week ago, I didn't know about this place, now I get up earlier to make my coffee dash, and even if I have time, order a bite...and for someone who doesn't have breakfast very often, take my word for it - it's got to be something worth waking up for. The fact that I've been talking about this all week has also got to mean something right?
Also, apparently the owner used to be the chef @ Circa in St Kilda (Matt Wilkinson). Now, I've only been to Circa once and it was fantastic, but that was some time ago, well before they had their renovations, and I'm not sure if he was the one of the main chef's back then. Irrespective of whether or not he was, Circa has continued to stand out as one of the top restaurants in the Good Food Guide year after year. So that itself, should tell you something.
To cut the long story short, they do good eggs, good coffee, good sandwiches and great specials that seem to change every now and then. Service is what you would expect from an excellent cafe, casual and efficient.Where it doesn't feel frantic, and it doesn't feel slow. That's it.
Today, I had the black rice risotto with prawns and morton bay bugs. Funny that they had it on the menu today, I was just thinking about how I could cook black rice, as apparently it is meant to be super good for you. Not to mention that it was also delicious for lunch (microwaved left over risotto just doesn't compare...seriously) and also really good value for what you get.
I really wish it won't ever get too busy, but I can't help but tell people about this place. Visit it, enjoy their coffee, enjoy their sandwiches, enjoy their eggs. I'm just waiting for when this place will be packed all the time.
BUT, a word of warning, street parking is atrocious.
Pope Joan, 77-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East