by James Ridenour
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Proud Mary

Proud Mary is one of those uber popular Collingwood in the know cafes.  Tucked away on Oxford Street in the middle of the trendy urban loft warehouse district you will find this cool and comfortable northern favourite.

Proud Mary is a slick warehouse conversion with exposed brick walls, chalk board menus, bar stools, a few large communal tables, DJ station including vinyl and the oh so very cool steely blue double Synesso espresso machine.  I am not a barista but I can tell you this machine makes the untrained barista in me drool.  It’s so chic!   As you can imagine with a machine like this the coffee here is a very serious business.  Perhaps not quite a strong as some of the more European style cafes in town the coffee is smooth, aromatic and one of the best I have found anywhere.  Presentation is everything and you will always find your coffee decorated with as much designer attention to detail as the interior of this trendy cafe.

What I love about Proud Mary is the menu is as incredible as the decor.  As you watch the orders being delivered to your fellow patrons you invariably start to question your order thinking oh I should have ordered that it looks so amazing.  The delightful lady next to me ordered pancakes and they were presented so well I was simply forced to intrude, asking if I could take a photo of the masterpiece which was oozing with chocolate chunks, mandarin orange sections and syrup.  She was only too happy to oblige as the chocolate melted and dripped down the side of her stack of pancakes.  Fortunately when your selection arrives your order envy vanishes as the entire menu consistently delivers the wow factor.

We had the avocado crush with corn and feta on toast which was presented with contemporary flair.  It was as delicious as the presentation suggested.  My friend had the scrambled eggs, hash browns and mushrooms.  The eggs and the hash browns were light and perfectly cooked as were the savoury mushrooms.  My special tip for all my friends is to ensure you save room for one of their delicious muffins, which invariably sell out before the day is done.   The muffins are the best I have found in Melbourne.  They change daily and every time I have had one I have been left wanting more.  Today’s offering was banana, walnut and chunky chocolate which was wonderfully moist and flavourful with huge chunks of dark chocolate and hint of banana and nut.

My tip is try and avoid weekends and lunch time in order to avoid the crowds but no matter when you decide to go you are in for a treat.  I am already planning my return!

Proud Mary is located at 172 Oxford Street, Collingwood and can be contacted on Tel: 03 9417 5930

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