by James Ridenour
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Pope Joan

Pope Joan is named after the medieval legend of the woman who posed as a man and reigned as Pope for several years.  This venue is just that a powerhouse unassumably disguised as a neighbourhood cafe in Melbourne’s north.  Pope Joan is one of my concierge friend’s favourite restaurant/cafe/bar combos.  He has been raving about this establishment for ever and a day and with good reason.  I fully admit my busy schedule has left me remiss for not visiting as of yet.  I knew I would like it.  I knew it would be kewl.  I knew I would want to go back.  The reality is all that and more.  I loved it.

Pope Joan blew me away.  Fun, friendly and kewl.  This place is awesome.  The prefect combination of cafe by day and bar/restaurant by night.  Don’t let the casual nature of the venue fool you either, this place is serious about cocktails, wine, beer, food and coffee and the front and back of house staff have the knowledge and service culture to pull it off.

We started with a sashimi squid amuse bouche in the bar which was followed by the most delicious and savoury croquettes I have ever had – EVER!  The process to make the croquettes was explained and all I can say is every one of the extensive steps made for a melt in your mouth jaw dropping sensation.

We then moved onto dinner with a entres, mains, sides and desserts.  The stars of the show were definitely the vegetables.   Done to perfection so all you veggos out there make this place top of your list.   My friend had the chicken Kiev which was extraordinary, while I had the lamb which was also very very moreish.

The end result, this is one place I will return to without hesitation.  Brunswick East should now be on your radar too.

Pope Joan is open seven days a week for the daytime cafe and serves dinner from Monday to Friday.  It can also be booked out for private events on Saturday and Sunday nights and is perfect for weddings!  It is located at 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East and can be contacted on 03 9388 8858.

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